Here are all the steps you need to take when dealing with breaks, bumps, burns and other minor injuries with kids at home.
Every kid thinks they can fly at some stage in their life – it’s just the height that differs. When your little one takes a leap from the limb of a tree, it’s handy to know how to deal with limp limbs – just in case! Same goes for burns, scrapes, bites, fits and more. Minor child injuries are inevitable, and so, having an Emergency Response Plan at home for your family is part and parcel.
We’ve done some first aid, but if you’re like us, the combination of blood, pain and our offspring makes common sense recede and panic take over. So we decided to enlist some help to put a simple plan together that we can follow in the case of an emergency. To the rescue came Dr Samantha Izzard, and the expert paediatricians at International Paediatric Clinic, with sage safety advice for you and your family.
Everything you need to know about making an Emergency Response Plan
1. Assess the nature of the emergency
When an accident occurs, your first task is to make an evaluation of the situation. What type of injury or ailment has been sustained? Is your child or anyone else still at risk of getting hurt? Can you move your child or do you need to treat them where they are and create a diversion around them?
2. Stay calm and carry on
If you keep your cool, your child is much more likely to as well and less likely to go into shock. Keep talking to them, explain what you’re doing and what’s going to happen and maintain eye contact. Try to keep your child lucid and interactive also. If you have someone else present, ask them to sit with the child if you need to fetch things.
3. Fetch the first-aid kit
You can purchase comprehensive first aid kits online from Pharmex Healthcare or assemble your own with supplies from First Aid Supplies Singapore. Refer to our handy list of first-aid kit items below to find out what you obtain to customise your own family first-aid kit. If you purchase a ready-made first-aid kit from a chemist or pharmacist, it’s important that you check the contents and top up with additional items that might not be included. Keep the kit in a handy location in a central part of your home but out of reach of children. Regularly review the contents and re-stock after using items.
4. Treat the initial symptoms
Equip yourself with life-saving tools by learning first-aid, and how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The Singapore Red Cross Society, Singapore First Aid Centre, and St John Ambulance Association Singapore are several places that conduct life-saving courses. Keep a step-by-step CPR chart on a wall in a central part of your home so that you can refer to it in an emergency.
- Concussions: bumps to the head can be serious so monitor for symptoms of lethargy, bad headaches, confusion, repeated vomiting, and seizures.
- Cuts: when bleeding occurs, apply pressure on the wound using sterilised gauze to stem the flow.
- Choking: if your child is coughing then allow them to continue to try to dislodge the item themselves. Otherwise bend them forward or over your lap and strike them on the back between the shoulder blades several times. If this is unsuccessful, try chest thrusts. For instructions on how to administer chest thrusts, refer to this You Tube video from First Aid Training Singapore.
- Burns: Stop the burning process as quickly as possible. If there is a scald burn remove clothes as the hot water soaks into clothes. If clothes are stuck to burn do not remove. Apply cool running water to the burn for 20 mins. Do not use ice or lotions. If first aid is delayed, applying cool running water to the burn is still helpful up to 3 hours after the accident.
- Fractures or breaks: apply an ice pack to the swollen area and minimise the injured person’s movements. Keep the area rigid and supported.
- Allergic reactions: administer antihistamine medication or use an Epipen if one has been prescribed.
- Bites: snake bites should have a firm tourniquet applied above the point of incision.
- Impaled objects: hold the area with gauze to stem bloodflow and do not attempt to remove the item.
5. Call for help
Once you’ve treated the initial symptoms, call for help if needed. Have your list of emergency telephone numbers written up clearly on the wall near your telephone. These should include your GP, nearest hospital, nearest hospital with a paediatric ICU, ambulance services, Singapore Civil Defence Force, taxi companies, a neighbour or friend who can come to your aid, mind other children, or drive you to hospital if necessary. Teach your children how to call these emergency hotlines too, by explaining what the numbers mean and when they should call. If you’re not at home when trouble strikes, you may need to jump straight to this step. If the injury does not require a trip to A&E but medical attention still needs to be sought, you can consult the team of paediatricians at International Paediatric Clinic.
6. Write up and post your plan
Carefully think through each eventuality and write up an emergency response plan that can be referred to by anyone in your family. It should include steps in dealing with a medical situation and should be posted up in the house in a central location. Keep copies in handbags and at work too in case you need to instruct others from the end of a phone or if an accident occurs when you’re out and about.
7. Discuss and create awareness
It is essential that everyone in your family, including your helper and other care-givers, is clear on what the process is and who to contact, if a problem occurs. This will save time and lives and minimise confusion. Emphasise the importance of being vigilant about safety and easy ways minimise risk and danger such as avoiding hot items and power points, designating play areas, staying away from vehicles, asking for help when climbing or reaching items up high, looking both ways when crossing the road, and get down low if there is smoke etc.
8. Rehearse and role-play
Act out basic scenarios with your children to help them go through the process of evaluating, identifying, and reporting an emergency. Recite your home address and important phone numbers together until they can commit them to memory.
For more information and to find a dedicated paediatrician for your child, get in touch with the friendly staff at International Paediatric Clinic.
First aid kit essentials
Keep your first aid kit in a cool, dry location, and make sure everyone in your family knows where it’s stored. Some items might have expiry dates, so check your kit regularly and replace items when necessary.
- Adhesive and/or duct tape
- Antibiotic ointment
- Antiseptic solution
- Bandages (elastic wrap and bandage strips in assorted sizes)
- Triangle bandage to use as sling
- Cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs
- Disposable latex/synthetic gloves (at least two pairs)
- Gauze pads and roller gauze in assorted sizes
- Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
- Plastic bags for the disposal of contaminated materials
- Safety pins in assorted sizes
- Scissors and tweezers
- Soap or instant hand sanitiser
- Saline solution
- Instant cold packs
- Face masks
- Medicine cup and spoon
- Ziploc bags
- First-aid manual
- Aloe vera gel
- Anti-diarrhoea medication
- Oral antihistamines
- Panadol tablets
- Calamine lotion
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Eye drops
- Drugs to treat an allergic attack, e.g. EpiPen (as prescribed by your doctor)
Emergency hotlines in Singapore
Emergency ambulance and fire: 995
Non-emergency ambulance: 1777
Hospitals with Accident & Emergency (A&E) Services
Alexandra Hospital: 6472 2000
KhooTeckPuat Hospital: 6555 8000
KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital: 6225 5554
National University Hospital: 6772 5000 / 6772 2555 (for children)
Singapore General Hospital: 6222 3322
Tan Tock Seng Hospital: 6357 8866
Raffles Hospital: 6311 1555
Parkway East Hospital: 6344 7588
Gleneagles Hospital: 6473 7222
Mount Elizabeth Hospital: 6737 2666
Mount Alvernia Hospital: 6347 6210
Thomson Medical Centre 24-hour family clinic: 6350 8812
West Point Hospital: 6262 5858
Refer to the full list here.
This article is sponsored by International Paediatric Clinic.