Summer first aid for babies and children
Sun & Heat
Remember - slip, slop, slap to avoid sunburn and sun stroke. Children's natural cooling mechanisms are not as efficient as adults. Playing outside on a hot and humid day and not drinking can lead to dehydration and heat exhaustion. Keep children in cool clothes, in the shade, ensure they sit down, rest and drink regularly. If heat exhaustion is severe medical assistance may be required.
Remember: If your child complains of thirst, they are already dehydrated.
Constant supervision is a must around pools and the ocean. But it only takes enough water to cover the nose and mouth for a child to drown! Be aware of less obvious dangers such as a shallow stream, the melted ice at the bottom of an Eski™ and even toilets. In the event of a near drowning - immediate resuscitation is essential to survival! Only attempt a rescue that is within your capabilities. Throw in a rope or floatation device or take something buoyant with you if you must go in.
- Call 000, check airway is clear and breathing is present.
- If not, give 2 rescue breaths and commence CPR (2 breaths:30 chest compressions).
- Place in recovery position if breathing is restored.
Always seek medical attention after a near drowning!
Bites & Stings
Prevention is better than cure!
- Wear closed shoes.
- Leave snakes and spiders alone.
- Steer clear of likely habitats such as long grass and bush.
- Don't put hands into dark places such as holes in trees and under rocks.
- Check your sleeping bag before climbing in.
- Don't pick up anything on the beach or in rock pools and obey signs posted by life savers.
Snakes, Sea Snakes, Funnel Web Spider, Blue Ringed Octopus & Cone Shell
These bites and stings or an allergic reaction to ANY bite or sting require 'mummification' of the limb and medical attention. Apply 2 pressure immobilization bandages
- Start over bite and wind UP as far as possible.
- Start at bottom of limb and wind UP as far as possible.
This slows the movement of the venom whilst you seek medical attention.
It is useful to tell medical staff what the biter or stinger looked like so they know which anti-venom to use!
Red Back Spider, Bee, Wasp, Fire Ant, Bull Ant & Scorpion
Remove barb (scrape sideways). Apply a cold compress and seek medical advice.
Non Tropical Jelly Fish e.g. Blue Bottle & Fish With Spines, Flathead, Stingray & Stonefish
Immerse in hot water and seek medical or life savers advice. If hot water is not available, cold can be applied.
Tropical Jellyfish e.g. Box Jelly Fish & Irukandji
Apply copious amounts of vinegar and seek medical or life savers advice.
Sprains, Strains, Dislocations & Bruising
Treat with RICER
- R - Rest the inured part to prevent internal bleeding and swelling.
- I - Ice the injury to limit inflammation and reduce pain. Wrap ice in a damp cloth. Do not apply it directly to the skin. Only ice for 10 minutes at a time for toddlers and small children.
- C - Compression bandage the area to limit swelling.
- E - Elevate the injured part above heart level to reduce blood flow to the area.
- R - Referral: See a doctor to rule out any complications such as a fracture.
Children are prone to 'green stick' fractures as their bones have not yet hardened. Treatment is to immobilise with a sling and splint and seek medical attention.
- Lower arm - Support forearm, keeping wrist slightly higher than elbow or apply an arm sling.
- Upper arm - Rest hand of injured side on shoulder and support elbow with other hand or apply a collar and cuff sling.
- Collar bone - Support as for upper arm or apply an elevated sling.
- Legs and Pelvis - Do not splint if medical attention is not delayed. Keep limb supported and still with clothing and towels. Wait for medical attention to arrive.
A simple abrasion can be cleaned of foreign matter and covered with a sterile dressing. For more severe bleeding you need to control blood loss and prevent shock.
- Apply pressure, raise the bleeding part above heart level and seek medical advice.
- If the toes/fingers go blue the bandage is too tight and should be loosened.
- If bleeding comes through the initial bandage do not remove it, add a second over the top.
- If there is a penetrating object do not remove it, pad and bandage around it.
With all trauma injury involving bleeding a tetanus shot may be required.
The information above is provided as a reference only. For all emergencies, seek medical advice or call 000 for emergency assistance.