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Food & Health

Parents' Guide to First Aid

When an emergency arises, how well do you know your first aid? Here are the top three common emergencies and what you can do to help.

We know how your kids view you as their superhero, and there is nothing you won’t do to protect them. Be it at home or outdoors, having basic first aid knowledge can truly save the day!

Scalds & Burns
Scalds are categorised as first-, second- or third-degree, depending on the damage done to the skin. First-degree burns are limited to the top layer of skin and will result in redness, pain and minor swelling with no blisters. Second-degree burns are more serious and would affect the skin layers beneath the top layer. They produce blisters and cause severe pain and redness with a chance of the blisters popping.

The most severe burn is the third-degree burn. They involve all skin layers, as well as underlying tissues, and may cause the skin to appear waxy, white, leathery or charred. The burn is so severe that it might cause nerve damage.

What to do:

  • Call for medical attention immediately if the burn comes from a fire, electrical source or chemicals, and is on the face, scalp, hands, joint surfaces or genitals.
  • Remove your child from the heat source, followed by immediately removing any piece of clothing that is covering the burned area. Run cool water (not cold) over the burned area for at least three minutes.
  • Do not use ice as it may further damage the injured skin. Contrary to popular belief, butter, grease or powder will not help soothe the burn. In fact, they might even cause infection.
  • Apply Aloe Vera Gel to the affected area and protect it with a sterile gauze pad for the next 24 hours. Do not use adhesive bandages, as it is a choking hazard for young kids.
  • Observe the burned area for the next few hours and seek medical care if it does not get better.

Choking
Choking is extremely dangerous as it blocks your child’s airway and might even cost them their life. If you notice your child gasping, wheezing, panicking, turning blue and becoming limp and unconscious, or have an inability to talk, cry or make sounds, it is time for serious attention.

What to do:

  • For children above one year old, it is safe to perform the abdominal thrust. Otherwise, do not attempt it if you are not confident, or if the child is less than one-year-old.
  • Instead, hold your child face down on your forearm and support your arm on your thigh. Ensure that your child’s torso is higher than the head.
  • Use the heel of your other hand to thump your child in between the shoulder blades up to five times. Turn the child back up once the object is out, while still supporting the head and neck.

Cuts & Wounds
As much as we would love to prevent cuts and wounds, they are bound to happen. They are painful and carry a high risk of infection if not treated properly.

What to do:

  • For minor bleeding due to small cuts or abrasions, rinse the wound with water, and a mild soap if necessary, to clean out any dirt and debris. Protect the wound with a sterile gauze or adhesive bandage.
  • Naturally, deeper wounds would need more careful attention. Start it off by washing the wound thoroughly with water, and take note of how deep the cut is. Ensure that your hands are completely sanitised, and then place sterile gauze over the entire wound. Apply continuous, direct pressure onto the wound for a full five minutes by pressing your palm against it.
  • Do not replace the gauze, but simply apply another gauze pad should the blood soak through. If the bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes, your child might need stitches and it is time to call for the doctor. Continue to apply pressure until help arrives.
  • Once the wound heals, you can treat the scar with Hiruscar Kids ($32.90, major pharmacies) – a topical scar gel that is specially formulated to effectively reduce the visibility of children’s scars.

What are some other first aid tips you have? Share with us below!