Caring for a child's injuries is one of many important parts of being a mother. When your child gets cuts and bruises, it hurts you too, so you should know how to care for those injuries. You should also know when simple first aid isn't enough, and when a visit to the doctor or hospital is necessary. This information may help you decide the best course to take to care for your child's injuries.
Minor Cuts and Scrapes
Taking care of minor cuts and scrapes is a fairly simple matter. First, you should make sure the area around the cut or scrape, as well as the injury itself, is clean. You may need to wash out any debris caught in the wound, then clean the whole area with an antibacterial soap. If you are still concerned about germs, you may pour hydrogen peroxide over the wound; if it bubbles, there are germs present, which it is working to eliminate. Dab some Neosporin on the area and put a bandaid over it if it is bleeding, or use a gauze wrap if it is a scrape which covers a large area. Once the wound scabs over, no more bandage or gauze is needed.
Some itching is normal, as the scab will pull on the surrounding skin, but if the surrounding area becomes very red or feels hot to the touch, or if the wound oozes pus, you should see a doctor as these are signs of infection.
Bruises are generally not severe and will go away, untreated, on their own. Bruises should be tender to the touch, but should not cause pain when no pressure is put on them. They should also not spread. Don't worry about minor bruising, but if your child's bruises cover a very large area or seem to be spreading, visit a doctor immediately.
If a wound is wide and deep enough where the bleeding is severe and it won't scab on its own, stitches or a butterfly bandage may be in order. Anything more than surface cuts and scratches may fall into this category if the bleeding does not stop quickly. If this is the case, take your child to a hospital immediately, before too much blood is lost. If a cut on a limb is bleeding profusely, wrap a tourniquet around the limb above the cut. This can be done by simply tying a strip of fabric firmly around the limb. This will help minimize blood loss until you reach the hospital.
Cuts on the head tend to bleed much more than cuts on other places, and also often seem worse than they are because of hair in the way (and tangled around the wound). What seems like a serious cut can actually be a fairly small puncture, so remain calm and part the hair to get an idea of how big the cut actually is before rushing to the hospital.
If your child has slipped and hit his head, but there is no blood, you may be worried about concussions. Ask your child if he has any trouble seeing. Shine a flashlight in each eye and make sure the pupils contract, then expand as the light is moved away. Finally, ask your child to hold his head still and track your hand with only his eyes. Move your hand back, forth, up and down in front of him. If your child has any difficulty with any one of these tasks, see a doctor.
Sprains and Breaks
If your child slips and falls and complains of a pain in a joint, he may have a sprain. Like breaks, these need to be kept still in order to heal, and a trip to the doctor will be in order. Breaks are generally more obvious, but small fractures in the bone may also be possible. If your child complains about a lingering, aching pain in a bone or joint, you should bring him in for x-rays.
Minor injuries can be treated at home, but more severe problems require professional medical attention. If you have any doubts about whether or not an injury is severe, play it safe and see a doctor.