With school holidays almost upon us once more, so too are play dates, backyard footy matches, on-pavement scootering. Much as we try to avoid them, little bumps and bruises are just the result of kids being kids.
You should address serious harm—like broken bones or head injuries—at the hospital, but there are plenty of minor issues that you can properly treat yourself. Here we’ve shared our fool-proof guide to treating those simple injuries that are bound to pop up during play time.
Backyard first-aid basics – When to use ice
You should use ice therapy for swelling and bruising. It works by slowing blood flow to the injured area, thereby reducing inflammation and pain. Ice works best when you apply it no more than 48 hours after an injury, and it is particularly effective immediately after the injury occurs.
Frozen gel packs, ice cubes in a zip-lock plastic bag or iced water are all great for treating painful rolled ankles or bumps on the leg.
Backyard first-aid basics – When to use heat
You should use heat to ease inflammation. It is not a good option for a fresh injury, and it can actually cause more harm than good. If your child has taken a tumble, which has resulted in muscle spasms during the following days, heat is the perfect (and natural) solution. It will increase blood flow to the area, improve movement and alleviate pain.
Apply a heat pack, microwaveable gel pack, or hot water bottle to the site. Alternatively, you can run a warm bath with some added magnesium salts.
Backyard first-aid basics – Treating cuts and grazes
The rule of thumb with cuts is this: if it appears deeper than 1.5 cm or if you can see muscle or tendons, it will require medical attention and probably stitches. For all other minor cuts and grazes, follow these easy steps:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Clean the wound with cool water to flush out any dirt or debris.
- Mix a small amount of mild detergent with water and continue to flush out the wound. Harsh alcohol or iodine can aggravate the wound further.
- Apply firm pressure with a piece of cotton gauze, if the wound is still bleeding. Make sure that you don’t lift the gauze to check for bleeding during this time. If blood is filling the gauze, just add more, and keep applying pressure.
Warning: If a rusty object or an animal caused the wound, it’s best to seek medical attention.
What have you found is the best way to treat minor injuries? Have you ever had a scare with your kids? Let us know; keeping kids safe is something that we should all be talking about!