Knowing exactly what to do in an emergency and responding accordingly isn’t always easy when it comes to our little ones. Seeing them in pain or distress can cause us to panic, freeze, or do something we think is right but can actually make the situation worse.
In an emergency, every second counts. Alarmingly, injuries are the leading cause of death for Australian children aged 1-14 years, and one of the leading causes of hospitalisation. We all have potential hazards in the home, and children are particularly at risk as they are very curious and like to explore their surroundings. And not to mention, put everything in their mouth!
Even if you think you know what to do if the unthinkable does happen, there are several misconceptions floating around. Let’s look at two of these first-aid myths (you might have seen them on TV shows or heard them from well-meaning relatives) and knowing the correct paediatric first aid instead.
Myth 1: You should apply ice or ointments to a burn
Burns and scald injuries are commonly caused by hot drinks, hot tap water, stoves, vehicle exhausts, treadmills, and campfires. Using ice, lotions, creams or food items such as egg whites, butter, and toothpaste can actually make the burn worse.
Correct treatment for a burn
Place it under cool running water for 20 minutes – this helps reduce the pain and to minimise any further burn damage. Cover the burn with a clean dressing and seek medical attention.
Know exactly what to do by saving or printing off Kidsafe’s poster for the prevention and first aid treatment for minor burns
Myth 2: If you think your child has ingested a poisonous substance, you should make them vomit
Potential poisoning hazards include household cleaners and detergents, medication, and even some plants. If you think your little one has ingested something, making them vomit will actually move the poisonous substance around their body and can cause further damage.
Correct treatment if a child has ingested a poisonous substance
Phone the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week Australia wide). They will advise you of what to do next. If the child has collapsed, stopped breathing, is fitting or is suffering an anaphylactic reaction, ring 000 for an ambulance.
Importance of knowing correct paediatric first aid
There are so many more potential hazards to babies other than burns and poisons. It’s vital that you know the correct paediatric first aid response and what to do for choking, drowning, febrile convulsions, and allergic reactions, and learn how to prevent injuries from occurring.
The only way to do that is to undertake a paediatric first aid course and update your skills regularly to ensure that you’re prepared. We recommend Kidsafe’s paediatric first aid course, which is a 3 hour education training program (online or face to face) suitable for parents, carers, grandparents, and anyone involved in the care of young children. All of their paediatric first aid training is aligned with the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) Guidelines and includes infant and child CPR.