This post is sponsored by Healthdirect Australia.
He walked over to me so calmly that I didn’t even look up from the book I was reading.
“I hurt my hand” he said…
“uhuh” I murmured thinking it couldn’t be that bad since he wasn’t howling, but then something caught my eye and I looked down to see a puddle of blood.
My eight year old had sliced his hand at the base of his thumb and was bleeding, quite calmly, all over the ground while he waited for me to finish the page of my book!
I looked up at his pale, horrified face and immediately told him to sit while a million things ran through my head… What do I do now!?!?
I’m actually pretty good in a crisis (if I do say so myself). After 10 years of teaching and 12 years of parenting, I’ve experienced quite a few crazy injuries, and plenty of run of the mill kid accidents, and I know how much it helps to be prepared. Over the years I’ve picked up some useful tips for how to cope if your child gets hurt, and now I have a plan of action.
Here are some of the things that we do to prepare for and manage childhood injuries.
Know your basic first aid and assess the situation.
Do your ‘DRSABC’ and make sure the situation is safe and that this is a minor injury and not something that needs immediate, emergency, help. If in doubt, call an ambulance – in Australia that’s Triple Zero (000)
Get the child to sit down.
Usually the child is scared, and possibly even a little dizzy, so the first thing I do is get them to sit or even lie down right where they are. That keeps them still and safe while I figure out what is going on, and what needs to be done about it.
Take a moment to find your calm.
It’s totally natural to be a little (or a lot) stressed when your child gets hurt, but everyone will cope much better if you can stay calm. So once you’ve decided this is not a life threatening emergency, take a moment to collect yourself. Take a few breaths and reassure your child. Don’t brush the injury off as nothing (even if it really isn’t that big of a deal), but don’t overreact either. A few calm, compassionate words to your child is often enough to calm everyone down.
Decide what to do and whether you need medical help.
It can be really difficult to think straight and make decisions when you are dealing with a crisis, and while most of us know what do to about the run of the mill childhood accidents, there will always be times when something happens and you are just not sure how to manage it, or you’d like some more advice.
This is when the healthdirect symptom checker comes in handy. You can select your symptoms and it will give detailed information about the best course of action. It will tell you if you need to go to the hospital, or if you need to see a doctor, as well as giving first aid information and a list of things to watch out for. It gives you good, clear, information and advice about what to do next, as well as a list and a map of local health services if needed which is so reassuring when you are dealing with a crisis.
If possible, get someone else to help you.
Having one adult stay with the child while someone else goes to get help or supplies is the best option, but at home I am often the only adult so in that case I stay with the child and ask my other kids to go get anything I might need like an ice-pack, blanket, etc.
Have a good first aid kit and put together an emergency pack.
We have well-stocked first aid kits stored safely both at home, and in each of our cars. We also have an emergency pack that includes things like towels, washers, a vomit bucket, a blanket, band aids, a bandage, and a bottle of water. We also have a couple of ice packs permanently in the freezer. Everyone knows where these items are and all the kids are able to access them – there is no point asking them to help me if they don’t know where things are or can’t get to them.
Make time to debrief.
After it’s all over and the injury has been dealt with, both you and your child are probably going to need to debrief.
We parents often sit around and swap stories about kid’s injuries, which is a great way to help process things. You’ll be relieved to hear your child is not the only one who manages to hurt themselves in somewhat unusual ways, and you are not the only parent who had to take a few deep breaths before they could deal with it all. You might even learn a few tips or tricks for next time too, that’s how I learned about the healthdirect website.
Our kids often need to debrief too. For little ones that can mean playing out the incident – sticking bandaids on their teddy, or setting up a pretend hospital or doctors surgery. Older children might need to tell the story, with all the gruesome details, to anyone and everyone. And all kids can use some extra love and connection and perhaps some reassurance and time to get their confidence back too.
So I’m sure you are wondering what happened to my boy and his bleeding hand?
After a few minutes of applying pressure to the cut the bleeding slowed and I got a decent look at it. It wasn’t super deep but it was in an odd spot and it was still bleeding, so I wasn’t sure exactly what we should do about it.
Usually in that situation I’d pack him off to our local Doctor to get an expert opinion, but it was late Sunday afternoon and I knew the surgery was closed.
Should I drive him the hour’s trip into the hospital?
Or would it be ok to clean and bandage up his hand and see how it went?
I really had no idea, so I jumped onto the healthdirect symptom checker and plugged in the details.
I was relieved to find that the first aid I’d given so far was pretty much correct, and that we didn’t need to go to the ER. It did suggest a trip to the doctor would be a good idea and I love the fact that the website immediately brought up a list of local Doctors, told me which of them were open right then, how far away they were, and gave me a map. That is a whole lot of Googling and calling I didn’t have to do to find a doctor!
We trotted off to the doctor who confirmed that there didn’t appear to be any major damage, just a deep, awkwardly placed, cut and he showed me how to dress it and tape it up so it didn’t keep opening up again, and off we went.
I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to get an opinion right as something happens, and how much easier it made the whole cut hand event to not have to second guess myself or search for a doctor.
It’s well worth checking out the healthdirect website and symptom checker and saving it to your favourites ahead of time so you know how to find it and how it works. The information and advice they offer is from Australia’s leading health organisations and has gone through a quality assurance review so you know it’s reliable and safe.
It’s not always easy to manage an injury or accident calmly but the more prepared you are the better you’ll cope and the easier it will be for your kids too.
Tell me your kid injury stories!
I know we’ve all got some great stories to share and hopefully some useful tips too.
So tell me your story, how did your child hurt themselves and how did you handle it?