How to Deal with Children Injuries in a Garden

While minor sunburn, stings, bites, cuts, grazes, thorns and splinters can be treated at home, more serious injuries require hospital attention and the first aid techniques are no more than emergency measures. If you have any doubt or unease whatsoever as to the seriousness of your child’s injury, call your local hospital or doctor’s surgery and explain the situation.

Cuts and grazes

Most children go through a stage when they seem constantly to be falling over and cut-tiny; or grazing themselves. This is when a well-stocked first aid box is invaluable. Knees and elbows take the most punishment but you can take preventative action, for example, persuade your child to wear elbow and knee protectors when skating or cycling and buy them good, thick trousers to wear when they are climbing.

garden injury How to Deal with Children Injuries in a Garden

Cuts and grazes can usually be treated at home. Common sense should tell you if a child needs medical attention, for example if the cut is especially large or deep, if something is embedded in it, or it is too dirty to clean easily.

Clean cuts or grazes either with cold running water, cotton wool soaked in warm water, or antiseptic wipes. Once it is thoroughly clean a graze can be left uncovered to heal, whereas cuts should be protected and kept clean with a plaster or dressing. Change this every day until the cut has healed. Check for any signs of infection such as inflammation, soreness, or tenderness on the area of the cut.

If the cut is still bleeding after live minutes, make a pad using a piece of clean fabric such as a handkerchief – and press it against the wound for a few minutes. If possible raise the limb with the cut above the level of the child’s heart to stop the bleeding. Never use a tourniquet.

Thorns and splinters

Children act as magnets for all sorts of thorns and splinters, a state of affairs not helped by their sometimes steadfast refusal to wear shoes in the garden.

Holly, mahonia, pyracantha and berberis are just a few of a long list of shrubs and plants with spikes and thorns which can be found in most gardens. It is inevitable that your child will manage to gel a thorn or splinter embedded in their hand or loot at some point ˇŞ possibly every day of the summer holidays if you are unlucky.

A very small thorn or splinter might not hurl and it left alone may pop out of its own accord, often in a warm hath. If, however, it is large or in the heel or fingertips it is hound to be painful and will need to be removed. The hardest part will probably be keeping the child still. Try to get them interested in what you are doing, or tell them a story to distract and calm them.

If you can see the tip of the splinter use a pair of tweezers that you have sterilised in a Manic and cooled, you should be able gently to pull it out. Pull it out straight to avoid breaking it, then wash the skin thoroughly and dab on a drop of antiseptic.

If the tip of the splinter is just below the skin, you will need to sterilise a needle (again in a Maine) and when it is cool use it to break the skin above the embedded lip of the splinter. Once the tip is revealed, use the needle point to lilt it up enough to grasp it with the sterilised tweezers and pull out. Again, clean the area and dab on some antiseptic.

Slivers of glass, metal or painfully large splinters will need medical attention. Watch out for signs of infection, such as swelling, reddening or undue tenderness.

Bites, stings and allergic reactions

Whether at home or on holiday, the majority of bites and slings children are likely to suffer will only lie minor, and although they may be painful they will not be dangerous. However, there is always a possibility that the child will develop an allergic reaction to a sling which could bring on a convulsion, or in the worst case, anaphylactic shock. This is a life-threatening condition and you must get the child straight to hospital.

Major bites and slings, from spiders, snakes or scorpions, are very dangerous and require urgent hospital treatment. Even if the child appears to show no ill effects, symptoms may develop later.

It may not be possible to identify the source of the wound, but if you can identify or describe the creature responsible, it vv ill help the doctor to provide the right anti-dole. The first thing to do is to keep the child calm and sit them down, keeping the wound lower than the child s heart if possible. This slows down the spread of the poison. Don’t attempt to suck the poison out, but wash around the area and take the child straight to hospital. If the child slips into unconsciousness, check their breathing and begin respiration it has stopped. If they are still breathing, place them in the recovery position and call an ambulance.

Treatment for minor stings is straight forward. If the sting is from a bee, it will be left embedded in the skin and should be removed carefully. Wasps remove their sting and may therefore sting more than once. Place a clean cloth soaked in very cold water over the wound. The skin around it will soon swell becoming itchy and red, so soothe it with some calamine lotion, then apply some antihistamine ointment.

Occasionally children are slung in the mouth, in which case a cold drink will help reduce the swelling. Sucking an ice cube may also help, but do not give one to a child under two because of the danger of choking.

Certain plants can trigger an allergic reaction in children.


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