One of the beat ways for the expectant parents and the expecting family to prepare for the unexpected future is by taking classes in first aid and infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Knowing what to do during the emergency will help them to remain calm, think quickly and take action positively with confidence so as to save the ailing child.
First aid to handle some of the common injuries and emergencies that affect children under a year of age are described here.
Head and Eye Injuries:
Head bumps and eye irritations should be treated with care - babies' developing brains and eyes are very fragile. Even if it doesn't seem serious, it's a good idea to check with the doctor.
Whereas most minor cuts can be treated at home; more serious wounds require medical attention. The child may require stitches or a dose of DTP vaccine, which protects against tetanus infection.
In case of minor cuts and scrapes, wash the affected area with soap and water, pat it dry, and then apply an antibiotic ointment (such as bacitracin or Neosporin) and a nonsticky bandage. Keep the wound clean and replace the bandage at least once a day to prevent it from falling off and becoming a choking hazard. Call a doctor if the area becomes swollen or red, there is a pus discharge, or the child has a fever or acts ill.
In case of bruises, apply a cold compress (wrapped in a cloth) to decrease pain, swelling, and further bleeding. Call the doctor for large bruises, swelling, ongoing pain, or abdominal bruising.
In case of severe and deep cuts, if the bleeding does not stop in 5 minutes, apply firm pressure with sterile gauze or a clean cloth to the bleeding site. Elevating the injured limb above the heart will help control bleeding. If a sharp object such as a nail is deeply embedded in the skin, don't remove it. Wrap it in bandages (to keep it from moving), and seek medical care.
A baby's airway can be blocked by a small object or risky foods such as nuts, whole grapes, hot dogs, and popcorn. A child who is coughing while choking is able to get some air into the lungs. If she doesn't cough up the object and her cough weakens, she can't make a sound, or she stops breathing, provide one minute of care (as mentioned below), and then call the emergency care.
1. Give five back blows. To do this, first position the infant face down on your forearm, resting your arm on your thigh for support. Support her chin with your hand, and make sure her head and neck are lower than her torso. Then use the heel of your free hand to give her five firm back blows between the shoulder blades.
2. If she doesn't cough up the object, turn her onto her back. Rest her on your forearm, using your thigh to support her body and your hand to steady her head. Make sure that her head and neck are lower than her torso. Give five chest compressions -
• Put the person on his/her back and try to wake him/her. If he/she is unconscious only then proceed to CPR. • First step is to open the airway. For this keep your palm on forehead and then slowly tilt head backward and the rise the chin forward. See if he/she is breathing and see for chest movements.
• If breathing is not there or is difficult then close the nostrils by pinching it. Then seal his/her mouth with yours and give a mouth-to-mouth breathing for one second. Check if there is any sign of rise of the chest, then let the chest fall and repeat this twice.
• If the chest doesn’t rise then again clear the airway by tilting head and raising the chin. Then again perform mouth-to-mouth breathing.
• Now, do chest compression so as to bring back the normal blood circulation of the person.
• To do chest compression, kneel near to his/her shoulder. Place the heel of your hand in the middle of the chest in-between the nipples. Then put another hand on top. The elbows must be straight and the shoulders must be exactly above the hand.
• Now gently compress the chest to about 5 cm at a rate of 2 presses per second. Do this for 30 times and follow it with two rescue breaths. Now check for signs of rising of chest.
Repeat the above steps for five times. If the person is not breathing, then repeat the procedure again until help arrives.
If you are not trained to do this, do not give mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing.
3. Repeat back blows and chest compressions until the object is coughed up or the baby starts to breathe or cough. See the doctor afterward, even if your baby seems fine.
4. If a choking baby becomes unconscious, deliver two rescue breaths. If the breaths don't go in, the airway is probably blocked. Tilt the baby's head farther back, lift her chin, and give two more slow rescue breaths. If the breaths still don't go in, give five chest compressions.
5. Look for a foreign object. Open the baby's mouth and look for an object that is blocking the airway. If you see it, use your little finger to remove it. But don’t fish for it in the baby’s mouth.
6. Give another rescue breath. If the chest still does not rise, continue the cycle of five chest compressions, looking for a foreign object, and giving a rescue breath until help arrives. If the breath goes in, and the chest rises, give a second breath and check for breathing and circulation.
A baby’s skin is far more sensitive than the adult skin. Follow the steps below in case the child is burnt:
1. Remove the baby from danger and cool the burned area by flushing it with cool water (unless it is an electrical burn). Remove the baby's clothing unless it's stuck to the skin.
2. Loosely cover the burn with clean, dry gauze dressing to reduce pain and prevent infection. Never apply ice directly on the burn, and do not put any ointment on a significant burn, as it can seal in heat. Likewise, stay away from home remedies such as butter, grease, or powder; they don't work to heal the burn, and they can actually cause infection.
3. For a serious burn (second-degree), call medical emergency care. Severe burns can cause loss of fluid from the body and breathing difficulties. If the burn has affected a large portion of the baby's body, wrap him in a clean sheet and cover him with a blanket (to keep him warm) after stopping the burn and cooling it with water.
4. For a chemical burn caused by contact with a household product such as paint remover, drain liquids, oven cleaners, or household bleach, call the medical emergency care and flush the area with cool running water until help arrives. If possible, remove clothes with any chemical on them.
5.For an electrical burn, such as when a child puts a metal object into an outlet or bites an electrical cord, call the medical emergency care but don't cool the burn with water; just cover it with a dry, sterile bandage. Electrical burns may appear deceptively minor yet can cause severe harm.
In case of any suspicion of poisoning, immediately contact the medical emergency center. If the child vomits instantaneously, turn her on her side to prevent choking. Save some of the vomited material in case it is needed for the analysis.