With baby in the picture, parents need to be prepared in case of an emergency. Hopefully you will never have to use these skills, but it's a good idea to be proficient, just in case.
1) Knowing How to Treat a Burn: Burns are unfortunately a common childhood injury. Depending on the severity of the burn, they are categorized as first, second, or third-degree burns.
- First Degree Burns: use cool water (not ice) to treat first degree burns and apply aloe cream to the area. Do not apply any other ointments or home remedies. The Mayo Clinic suggests, keeping the area clean with a sterile gauze pad for 24 hours. Take care not to use adhesive bandages on young children since they can be choking hazards.
- Second and Third Degree Burns (more severe): Seek medical assistance immediately and try to elevate the burned area. While waiting for help, remove baby’s clothes, apply cool water for five minutes and then cover the area with a clean dry cloth. If the burn is chemical in nature, rinse the burn persistently before taking off his/her clothes. Then remove clothing from the burned area and continue flushing the burn.
2) Being able to stop excessive bleeding: In many cases, the best way to stop bleeding is to use clean gauze and apply firm pressure. If a cut won’t stop bleeding after 5-10 minutes of applied pressure, or the cut is very wide or deep, it’s time to seek professional help by visiting an ER. Continue to apply pressure to the area while in transit to the ER.
It is okay to give your older baby an age-appropriate dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) for the pain, but never give ibuprofen (Motrin,) which can sometimes increase bleeding. For very severe bleeding cases where blood is spurting out (arterial bleeding,) call 911 right away. While waiting for help, continue to apply pressure and elevate baby’s legs to increase the flow of blood to the heart and brain.
3) Saving a Choking Baby: If an object gets lodged in baby’s airway, all parents should know what to do. Please note, if baby has a strong cry or is coughing hard, do not perform this procedure. Strong cries and coughs can often push the object out without any additional intervention. If your baby is not coughing or crying, follow these steps, as outlined by the American Heart Association:
- Place baby face down on your forearm, using your thigh or lap for support. Hold the infant’s chest in your hand and jaw with your fingers. Point baby’s head downward so it is lower than the body.
- With the palm of your free hand, give up to 5 quick slaps between the infant’s shoulder blades.
- If the object does not come out, turn the baby on his/her back and use two fingers to give up to 5 chest thrusts.
- Continue the cycle of back blows and chests thrusts until the object becomes dislodges.
- If the infant loses alertness, give CPR, shout for help and call 911.
- If at any point the object becomes dislodged and can be seen, remove it from baby’s mouth.
4) Learning Infant CPR: CPR is a lifesaving procedure that involves rescue breathing (giving oxygen to the lungs) and chest compressions (which keep the blood flowing.) Although there are many Infant CPR infographics and video demonstrations online, there is no substitute for becoming CPR certified. New parents should visit the American Heart Association website to find classes near them.
Many of the skills above are taught in certification classes offered through the American Heart Association or your local hospital. In many cases, online classes are also available. Remember, in emergencies; always call 911 to seek professional assistance.
Visit these references for further information:
- Find an American Heart Association Course: http://www.heart.org
- Mayo Clinic Treating Burns: http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/emergencies/burns.html#
- American Academy of Pediatrics Choking Prevention: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/injuries-emergencies/Pages/Choking-Prevention.aspx