family & lifestyle

When Children Get Hurt

Sometimes fun and games can suddenly turn into tears. When children get scrapes, bruises and sprains, staying calm and decisive is the most effective first aid parents can provide.

How to care for abrasions

A little bleeding from a scrape on the knee or elbow shouldn’t be stopped: this helps the body get rid of dirt particles on the wound and prepares it for healing by the immune system. Scrapes are best treated by gently washing the area with clean water and allowing the wound to air dry. Blow it gently and give your little one a comforting cuddle – affection helps to dry tears more quickly and distract from the pain. For small cut and wounds seek herbal creams with natural anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties.

If the wound bleeds strongly or for a longer period of time, cover it with a bandage and see a doctor, who can decide whether the injury might require stitches. If your child has no protection against tetanus, immunoglobulins might need to be administered. Children can receive active immunization through a tetanus vaccine starting from the age of one.

Bruises and Sprains

Children can easily sprain their ankle, even during normal play. The skin remains intact on the outside, but the ankle swells because of overstretching and damage to the ligaments and the ankle joint capsule, causing bruising. Such a sprain should be treated by cooling the affected area – for instance with a cold quark compress, which reduces blood flow so that pain subsides. Should children be unable to put pressure on their ankle, they should not continue to walk on it. A brace can be used to help relieve the affected joint. A doctor should clarify whether any ligaments have been torn or if any bones are broken. 
Falls or bashing against an obstacle while playing can lead to painful bruising on the back or to the knee, if connective tissue, muscles, joints or bones have been abruptly crushed. Even if bruising is not apparent, it still helps to cool a contusion and to elevate the affected leg. For mild bruises, additional anti-inflammatory ointments and gels are recommended.

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