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How prepared are you to give your child first aid during festivities incase of accidents?

<p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><img src="/nairobi/PublishingImages/cervical%20cancer%20body.jpg" alt="" style="margin: 5px;"/></span> </p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">With the closure of schools and onset of travel for holidays, accidents involving children are likely to happen. Accidents respect no age. It can happen to all age groups of children regardless of socioeconomic status and gender. Most end-of-year holidays are meant for travelling and merrymaking as families and friends meet after a long year of sweat and hard work. Children are mostly left to play on their own as adults are catching up with their favourite drinks and roasted meat. The unsupervised play creates an opportunity for accidents to happen e.g. falls from a height, cuts, bruises and limb fractures from &#39;rough playing&#39; or bicycle accidents, choking with toys, burns from hot liquid, drowning in a swimming pool or ocean just to name a few. The adolescents are not spared too. Due to peer pressure and &#39;fitting in&#39; behaviour, stealing cars from parents to show off driving skills can lead to serious motor vehicle accidents.</span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">What can parents do to minimize these accidents?</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Foremost is for parents to ensure a safe environment within the home for children to play. Removal of dangerous objects and substances within the homestead is key to reducing childhood accidents. Parents should closely supervise their children during play or assign a caregiver to monitor their children&#39;s activities. Tight supervision ensures the environment is safe for the child to play. Parents can educate the older child on safety measures during the holidays. This can empower the older child to look after their younger siblings to the best of their abilities but to ensure limits are not exceeded as they are children themselves.  </span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">Should these accidents occur, what first aid measures can be applied?</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">It is essential for caregivers to learn CPR from basic Life Support training if possible. The initial measure for first aid is to ensure the environment is safe for the provider by removing hazardous substances in the vicinity. For complicated injuries, the parent should call for help for efficient first aid and for a better outcome. The first aid provider should ensure the airway is patent to allow flawless breathing. </span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">a)    Burns</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">First thing is to stop the burning process e.g. extinguishing the fire, removing the hot water or switching off the electricity supply. Allow cold water to run over the affected area and give painkiller medicine. Do not break the blisters as this can cause infection to the skin. Seek medical attention for deeper and larger burns.</span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">b)    Cuts and bruises</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">With clean hands or gloved hands, clean the affected area with clean water and then apply firm pressure using sterile gauze to stop the bleeding from the cut. Do not remove the gauze even if the bleeding has stopped. This protects the clot formed that is preventing more bleeding. Deeper cuts need surgical intervention from the nearest hospital. </span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Bruises should be cleaned, and an antiseptic solution applied on top. Children should be given pain relievers for comfort.</span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">c)    Falls</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Most are falls from a height e.g. from beds, stools or tables. Observe for swellings, cuts and bruises on the body or pain to touch areas. Place a cold pack on swellings and bruises and give a pain remedy. The parent to observe the child carefully in the next 24 hours. Of concern is a child with loss of consciousness, irritability, lethargy, poor eye contact, projectile vomiting or a seizure. This requires urgent medical attention for possible internal head injuries. </span></p><p><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">d)   Choking</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">This is a life-threatening situation where an object obstructs the trachea (windpipe) and prevents the adequacy of breathing. The child appears to gasp for air, holding the throat or waving frantically with noisy breathing. The parent should call for assistance. If the child is coughing, allow them to cough without doing anything. The object can come out. If the parent can see the object in the throat, they can attempt to remove it. If the object cannot be seen, one should NOT try to poke the throat blindly as this can push the object further down the throat. If the child is losing consciousness, the parent should do back blows and chest thrusts for small children and back blows and abdominal thrusts for older children.  </span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>e)   Drowning</strong>
</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Knowledge of CPR is essential in drowning cases. Mouth to mouth breathing with the nose pinched and chest compression until medical personnel arrives. When breathing resumes treat for hypothermia by giving warm blankets.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>What must-have items should parents always have when travelling with children during this season?</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">A first aid kit is important to have. A basic first aid kit should contain at least various bandages, a digital thermometer, adhesive tapes, scissors, a CPR mask, sterile dressings, disposable gloves, paracetamol, antiseptic solution and safety pins and a surgical mask.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>What basic skills should any parent have to initiate first aid support?</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Courage and confidence to face the situation are important together with knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) from a Basic Life Support course.
</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica; font-size: 14px;"><strong style="color: #f0191e;"><em><span style="line-height: 17.12px;">By Dr Samuel Otido, Paediatric Pulmonologist at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi</span></em></strong></span></p><p><em style="font-family: helvetica;">​This article was first published on Business Daily on December 25, 2021. Read more </em><strong style="font-family: helvetica;"><em><a href="">HERE</a></em></strong></p>

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