First aid is such a broad topic to discuss I thought I would narrow it down and talk about burns – a very common injury around the home. Toddlers and small children are very inquisitive by nature and this often results in accidents and burns. Once you have children it is a really good idea to ensure you have some basic first aid skills. Courses can be done through places like St John Ambulance and Australian Red Cross as well as some private companies in your area such as Kids First Aid. Get a group of other parents and make a social outing of it. A well-stocked first aid kit is a must to combine with your new knowledge and skills a course can provide.
What is a burn?
A burn is an injury to the skin caused when it comes in contact with chemicals, flame or hot liquid like a cup of tea. Burns can be classified into 3 categories depending upon how deep the skin is injured.
- Superficial or 1st degree
- Partial thickness or 2nd degree
- Full thickness or 3rd degree
The following management steps have been taken from www.stjohn.org.au
- Follow DRSABCD.
- Extinguish burning clothing: •STOP DROP AND ROLL pull patient to ground, wrap in blanket, jacket or similar and roll patient along ground until flames extinguished.
- As soon as possible, hold the burnt area under cool running water for 20 minutes, for all burns: thermal, scalds, chemical, bitumen or electrical.
- Remove jewelry and clothing from burnt area unless stuck to the burn.
- Cover burn with a non-adherent dressing or aluminium foil, plastic wrap, or a wet clean dressing.
- Seek medical aid.
Seek medical aid urgently if:
- Burn is deep, even if patient does not feel any pain.
- A superficial burn is larger than a 20 cent piece.
- The burn involves airway, face, hands or genitals.
- You are unsure of the severity of the burn.
Things to consider in preventing burns around the home include:
- Set the temperature of your hot water to 48 degrees or lower
- Ensure hot drinks like tea and coffee are kept out of reach and not close to the edge of the bench
- Don’t leave the kettle cord dangling over or near the edge of the bench
- Ensure hot tap in the bath is covered with a safety cover
- Turn the hot tap off in the bath first so that the spout is cold
- Turn handles of pots and pans to the back of the stove
- Keep children out of the kitchen while cooking-Install a guard around your heater
- Keep your ironing until your young children are asleep
- Lock up or keep up high matches and lighters
- Also keep in mind things outside like the BBQ, exhaust pipe on your car, seatbelt buckles in the car, campfires and metal playground equipment like slides at the park. All of which are extremely hot at times.
Of course I cannot talk about burns without mentioning sunburn. It is really important to begin good lifelong habits. Childhood sun exposure is linked to developing skin cancer later on in life. It is vital that we follow the Cancer Council of Australia’s message of “Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide”
Hat, sunscreen, shirt, shade and slide on sunglasses are all the actions we need to take to protect our skin from the harsh sun. It is also worth considering if your child’s kindy or school have policies that address these issues such as wearing hates and playing in the shade.
It is important as parents that we feel equipped with the skills and confidence we might need should an emergency arise. However always remember that an ambulance is only a phone call away. There are also other phone services that you can call to get advice and information, such as 13Health here in Queensland and Poison Information Centre in your state.