How to Do First Aid for Common Childhood Injuries Part 1: Bleeding, Head Injuries, Sprains and Fractures
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How to Do First Aid for Common Childhood Injuries Part 1: Bleeding, Head Injuries, Sprains and Fractures

What to do if your child is bleeding, hits his head, or has a sprain or fracture.

Energetic children tend to have falls and bumps, as well as scrapes and cuts. Becoming certified in Standard First Aid with CPR-C will help you be prepared for just about any first aid situation, but if you have children, there are certain areas of first aid it is wise to focus on!

External Bleeding

Children will get scrapes, cuts, and nosebleeds, and most of them aren't serious. It's important to remember to calm your child down, apply pressure to the cut, and elevate it, if possible. (Very minor bleeds might not even need the elevation: a few minutes of applied pressure will do the trick.) Of course, keeping disinfectant ointment and adhesive bandages on hand are important as well!

With nosebleeds, the bridge of the nose should be pinched, with the child's head tilted slightly forward, not backward. A head tilted backwards can result in a child choking on blood that drips though the nasal passage into the mouth, or swallowing large amounts of blood, which can cause discomfort and vomiting. If a nosebleed (or any other cut, for that matter) that doesn't seem serious at first continues to bleed for more than fifteen minutes, get to a doctor or hospital.


Head Injuries

It is a very good idea to be familiar with the signs of head injury, especially if you are a parent to a toddler. Toddler's heads are large for their bodies, and tend to pull them off balance, resulting in falls where heads get bumped on all sorts of things. Head injuries can be scary, as "goose eggs" look more serious than they often are. The real warning signs of a concussion are: confusion, sleepiness, impaired memory, nausea, vomiting, and pupils that are not reacting properly to light. The pupils may be different sizes, too big or too small for the light conditions, or not changing in size in response to light. If you see any of these symptoms, or notice a depression (rather than a bump) on the head, get to the emergency room right away!



Children often sprain ankles and wrists, and unless you are a doctor or own an xray machine, it can be very difficult or impossible to tell the difference between a sprain, a strain, and a fracture. The symptoms are similar, but so is the treatment, so you don’t have to worry right away about which particular injury your child has.

The easy-to-remember treatment for these injuries is RICE: Rest, Immobilize, Cold, Elevate. Keep your child off his or her feet, wrap the injured part securely (but not too tightly) elevate it, and apply ice (for no more than fifteen minutes at a time.) It is a good idea to see a doctor for an xray, just in case what you think is a sprain is actually a hairline fracture.

The old saying is especially true when you have children: you can never be too prepared. With a good knowledge of the injuries your child is likely to suffer at some point, you will be a more confident and less stressed-out parent!

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Comments (2)

You were so spot on with your information on sprains, strains and fractures! A couple of years ago I was out on a hiking trip with friends in a Georgia State Park. On one of the paths, I dodged out of the way for a guy on a tenspeed to blow past us, and rolled my ankle on the edge of the path. It was very painful to stand on and I thought it was the ankle I had injured. I couldn't put any weight on it for several hours, and just stayed on the sidelines, icing it. My foot was so swollen the next morning that I could not get my boot on at all! We left early and stopped at the local emergency room, where X-rays showed that what had happened was a stress fracture of the top of my foot, nothing wrong with the ankle at all. X-rays and minor fractures


Thanks for this very informative post! Now I have a new knowledge about first aid. I'll be waiting for your next blog. Keep up the good work and good luck!