Brimming with energy and with the world to explore, kids are always on the go with their active lifestyle and curious mind. It is not uncommon for a kid to injure themselves when they are out and about. Childhood injuries can be just a scrap on the knee, or it could be something more serious. In a community nationwide study done on childhood injuries in Singapore, 45% of childhood injuries took place at home, with the rest of the injuries happening at school and other places outside the building. It is hence a caretakers’ responsibility to be able to handle and access such injuries in a trained and informed manner, to ensure that children will get the treatment they need.
Knowing what to do, and what not to
Being responsible for another life, especially one that is active and always moving about, is no easy feat. Therefore, in the event of an injury or emergency, it falls to the caretakers’ responsibility to react in an appropriate manner which is best for the child. A caretaker must have, at the very least, basic knowledge on how to deal with common injuries. In most cases of emergencies such as burns and choking, time is of the essence. CPR needs to be administered immediately, and each second might save a life. However, certain cases call for non-action. It might not be a good idea to move a child who has fallen from a flight of stairs or who might be a victim of a car accident. Knowledge is needed to access the situation so that moving the child would not cause him/her greater harm. The proper medicine to use in the first aid kit is also important to alleviate the situation, at least temporarily until the professional medical team arrives.
Knowing what to look for
In the event that a moderately-serious home injury occurred, would the best course of action to be to go to the hospital for a check just in case? Or would you observe your child at home for a day or two? Knowing what to observe after an injury- even one that could seem fine- is paramount to ensure a child’s safety. Depending on the age, children are not generally good at communicating their body discomforts efficiently. Certain injuries might also show no external signs, but internal complications might be present. Caretakers must therefore know what symptoms to look for when observing their kid after an injury. Anything out of the normal should be reported immediately, and if in doubt, head to the hospital for a check-up.
Staying calm and not panicking
A child’s emotions and sense of security are usually latched onto their caretaker. As the adult, it is our responsibility to remain calm and composed during an emergency. Our emotions will play a strong role in comforting the child and providing them with a sense of security. Caretakers need to remain calm, logical, and critical in their thinking in emergencies to execute the most appropriate line of action as a response. Good judgement and decision-making skills can save time, and each second matters during emergencies. Especially when an emergency occurs in a crowded area, keeping a clear head can speed up execution of action by giving clear orders.
Occupational First Aid Courses might be mandatory under the Workplace, Safety and Health Act (WSHA) for employees in certain fields. However, other occupations that hold a person responsible for another life should not be exempted from basic first aid training. Such positions of responsibility such as nannies, teachers, maids and parents should be fully equipped with first aid knowledge for children. They should be ready to react in any setting to provide the best response in an emergency. Make sure you and the people around you are equipped with basic first aid knowledge before you entrust them with the life of another!