10 myths about first aid for children and what you should do instead

bruise on the boy's leg

On average, 12,175 children 0 to 19 years of age die each year in the United States from an unintentional injury. This is a huge number considering that some of these deaths could have been prevented with the proper knowledge of the first aid procedures. However, even though we think we are familar with the first aid rules, sometimes the procedures we know may turn out to be inaccurate or wrong, leading us to do more harm than good. In this post we are debunking 10 common myths about first aid.

1. Your child consumed poisonous substance

Myth: Induce vomiting in your child.

What you should do instead: Establish what was taken, how much and when, and call the local emergency number. Do not induce vomiting as it is not recommended for certain substances and can  worsen your child’s condition.

2. Your child has a sprain, strain or fracture

Myth: Apply heat to a sprain, strain or fracture.

What you should do instead: Combat the swelling with cold, not heat as it can actually increase the swelling. The best thing you can do is to apply ice or a cold compress wrapped in thin cloth for about 20 minutes. Also, do not forget about stabilizing the wound.

3. Heat exhaustion vs. heat stroke

Myth: Heat exhaustion is the same as heat stroke and should be treated similarly.

Fact: Heat exhaustion is most often a result of direct exposure to sun. Heat stroke, on the other hand, is caused by severe overheating of the organism and is a life-threatening condition. It is characterized by hot, red and dry skin,  high body temperature and conscousness disturbances. 

4. Your child has been bitten by a snake

Myth: Suck the venom of the wound or cut the bite to release the venom.

What you should do instead: Call the local emergency number, limit your child’s movement, wash the wound with water and apply a clean dressing. Cutting the wound can lead to tissue damage and suction will additionally introduce the bacteria from your mouth to the wound.

5. Your kid has a foreign body in their eye

Myth: Encourage your child to rub their eye when they have a foreign substance in it, so that tears will wash it out.

What you should do instead: Flush the eye with clean water from the nose to the ear. It is recommended to rinse the eye using eye cap or eye kit if you have it.

6. There is a foreign object in your child’s wound

Myth: Remove the embedded object as soon as possible.

What you should do instead: The most important thing is to immobilize the affected limb. Do not remove the objects from the wound as it can only increase the bleeding. Apply a dressing to stabilize it within the wound.

7. Your child’s nose starts bleeding

Myth: Tilt the head back to control the nosebleed.

What you should do instead: The proper treatment is to squeeze the soft parts of your child’s nose and tilt their head forward, wait for 10 minutes till the bleeding stops. Never encourage your child to tilt their head back as it will make blood flow down their throat, which can cause vomiting.

8. Your child is choking

Myth: When a child is choking, get the object with your fingers or shake the object off your child.

What you should do instead: Encourage your child to cough. If it does not help, give 5 blows on your child’s back using your hand or wrist. Still unsuccesful? Put your fist under your child’s ribs and deeply but lightly compress their abdominal muscles towards yourself and upwards. In the meantime, ask someone to call the local emergency number. 

9. Your kid is having frostbite

Myth: Rub frostbitten body parts or rub snow on the affected skin.

What you should do instead: If you notice any signs of frostbite such as redness in the frostbitten area, stinging pain, blisters or the pale, deformed skin,  you should do the following things: Bring your child to a warm, enclosed area and remove any wet clothes from them, then wrap your child with an emergency blanket and give them warm liquid to drink.

10. Your child is having seizures

Myth: Move the child, put the objects in their mouth to prevent them from biting their tongue and physically restrain them.

What you should do instead: Moving the child or opening their mouth can lead to injuries like muscle tears. What you should do is move the objects around the child, protect the child’s head and wait till the attack subsides. 


Learn more

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Want to prepared for every emergency? Buy our ebook First Aid for Infants and Children which covers 30 most common emergencies which can happen to your child. Get the ebook: http://amzn.to/1OQ4TE2


Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Magdalena | Appetite For Education

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