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Summer often calls for mom and dad to be first aid experts. Children are active, and usually outside, so many different kinds of injuries can occur.
Below are 5 summer first aid tips you can use to try and fix your child’s minor injuries. When dealing with a first aid emergency situation, seek medical experts and attention by calling 911.
5 Helpful Summer First Aid Tips
Heat illnesses are serious. Heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, which is a medical emergency that can be fatal. Some of the heat exhaustion signs and symptoms include: cool and clammy skin; an increase in sweating; headache; irritability; nausea and vomiting; muscle cramps; fainting; weakness; increased thirst; and an elevation in the child’s body temperature of up to 105 degrees.
Heatstroke signs and symptoms include: flushed and hot, dry skin; the child may not be sweating; seizures; a loss of consciousness that may lead to coma; rapid heartbeat and breathing; confusion; dizziness and weakness; severe headache; and their body temperature will be at 105 degrees F or higher.
Heatstroke is a medical emergency, and you should seek immediate medical attention if you suspect a child is experiencing heatstroke. When a child has heat exhaustion, or you’re waiting for EMS for a possible heatstroke, you can:
- Bring the child into the shade, or indoors if possible.
- Take the child’s clothes off.
- Have your child lie down and elevate their feet slightly.
- Place them in cool bath water, if they are awake and aware. If you’re outside, you can spray the child with mist from a hose.
- Give the child sips of cool and clear fluids frequently, if they’re awake and aware.
- Turn the child onto their side if they’re vomiting. This will prevent choking.
Prevention is important with heat illness. Before any illness happens, it is essential that children know that they should always be drinking plenty of liquids before, during, and after activities that are in hot weather whether humid or dry. They need to do this even though they may not be thirsty. Try not to let the child participate in intense outdoor activity during the hottest hours of the day. Tell them that they need to come inside whenever they feel too hot.
Nosebleeds sometimes happen with kids. If your child gets a nosebleed:
- They need to sit upright, leaning forward. This reduces the blood pressure in the veins of the nose, and will help them avoid swallowing any blood.
- The child should use their thumb and index finger to pinch their nose shut. Try to do this for 5 or 10 minutes; hopefully this will stop the flow of blood.
- If the nose bleeds for longer than 20 minutes, or if this nosebleed was caused by some kind of fall or injury to the child’s head, it is time to call 911.
Scrapes and cuts occur a lot with children, especially when they’re playing outside in the summer. Here’s what you should do for this summer first aid tip:
- Clean the area under running water for a minimum of 90 seconds, try to remove debris while doing so.
- This will help to wash away bacteria.
- Gently wash the wound with soap and water.
- Pat the wound dry with a (clean) cloth. If still bleeding, apply pressure to the wound for 5 minutes. This should help the blood clot.
- Apply antibiotic cream to the wound and bandage it up.
- If the wound is bleeding profusely or is deep, your child needs to go to the ER, call 911.
Eye traumas are one of those really scary injuries children sometimes get. Prevention can be a key with this one. Be sure your child wears eye protectors when they’re playing sports, especially when balls are being thrown or hit, and may come near their face. Keep any chemicals or sprays away from your children. Be careful with everyday items like scissors, pencils, wire coat hangers, and paper clips, especially around young children.
Eye injuries can seem minor initially, but take the child to see the family doctor, because it could be worse than you think. While you wait for medical care:
- Don’t rub, apply pressure, or touch the eye.
- Don’t attempt to remove any kind of object that is stuck in the child’s eye.
- Don’t apply any medication or ointment to their eye.
- Gently cover a puncture wound or cut.
- Flush the eye with water, only if there is a chemical exposure.
Poisonings can be extremely serious. If you think your child has been exposed to something poisonous, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you don’t have that number handy, remember that you can always call 911 for poisonings.
Related First Aid Tips
- Know the common playground risks.
- It is a great idea for you to take a CPR and first aid class to prepare for these summer first aid tips, this can help your child, as well as others.
- And don’t forget about rest and sleep, which are so important when it comes to making sure that you and your child are functioning at your best. If you find that you or your child are having trouble sleeping, there are many healthy foods that can help you sleep better, give them a try.
- Keep a first aid kit available at home and on trips, always keep it fully stocked.
- Keep emergency numbers handy (inside the kit is good). Know where the nearest urgent care clinic is. Have a cellphone with you at all times.
Now you’re all set to go out and have a great summer!
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Guest post: Sean Morris is a former social worker turned stay-at-home dad. He knows what it’s like to juggle family and career. He did it for years until deciding to become a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he has found this additional time with his kids to be the most rewarding experience of his life. He began writing for LearnFit.org to share his experiences and to help guide anyone struggling to find the best path for their life, career, and/or family.
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We originally published this post in July 2016. We updated the article for accuracy and comprehensiveness.