On the rare occasion that a child gets hurt in your home, knowing what to do will make the situation less traumatic and less stressful for both you and the child. Two main considerations in an emergency situation are whether the child needs medical attention and documenting what happened.
Write a Plan of Action
The best way to ensure that you react appropriately in an emergency situation involving someone else's child is to write out an emergency preparedness plan. If you run a daycare in your home, then provide a copy of the plan to the parents of the children in your care.
Determine the Nature of the Injury
If you actually saw what happened, then it will be easier to determine the severity of the injury and what to do about it. If you didn't see what happened, ask the injured child or another child to tell you what happened. Meanwhile, look for signs like bleeding, unconsciousness or, in the case of a head injury, mental confusion, to help you make a quick assessment of the child's injury.
Any injury that requires something more than your first aid kit, should be considered a serious injury requiring medical attention. Because you have someone else's child in your care, err on the side of caution.
Call the Parents
If the injury is very serious, then call 911 before you call the parents. If the seriousness of the injury is questionable, contact the child's parents immediately. Make every attempt not to alarm them, explain what happened and tell them whether or not you think their child needs medical attention. If the injury is minor, then there is probably no need to contact the parents right away. As long as the child is not distressed, they can be informed of what happened when they pick up their child.
Document the Injury
Keeping an injury log is a common practice in most schools and day care centers. It not only helps to tell the story while it is fresh in your mind, but it can be a valuable record later if a dispute arises. As soon as the child is comforted, given first aid or taken to a hospital, you should work out the details of the incident including the date, approximate time and what the child was doing when the incident occurred. This will not only help the parents understand what happened, but can help protect you if the parents decide to file a lawsuit against you.
When a child gets hurt in your home, have a plan of action so that you do not waste valuable time figuring out what to do. Quickly assess the nature of the child's injury, and either call 911 or the parents immediately. In the case of a minor injury, provide first aid care and wait for the parents to arrive. After the child is cared for, document the incident and include all pertinent details like the date, time and nature of the accident.