9
Jul

Anyone Can Offer Ones Own Things Immediately if You Visit a Second Hand Retailer

In case you are unable to pay the bills, there is a good chance you have considered many choices. Frequently, individuals are under the impression that they are likely to have to accept an additional occupation to receive some extra income. Thankfully, it isn’t always the way it is. Take the time to read this page to obtain new info regarding what can be done in order to make a little extra money.

You could be stunned to understand a large number of men and women are looking at the pawn outlet in an effort to sell several things and never have to worry about locating a considerable time to discover a customer. Basically, you can travel to the web site for the neighborhood second hand store to understand more about how to get started together with marketing your current things for all of them. They’re going to provide a deal ahead of time. If it may seem like a fair sum of money, go on and help to make your transaction. It is an fantastic way to move on having hard cash in your pocket today.

Have a look around your home and also take into consideration what you desire to sell. It can be everything from sound equipment. tools, diamond jewelry, and also Dvd videos or even electronic devices as well as rifles. Your second hand shop is also a good spot to buy previously owned products for just a sensible value. Check out this site to understand more about how you can get great items to have a great cost.

18
Jun

Frequently Asked Questions About Casts

Kids who need a cast often have plenty of questions. Here are answers to some frequent inquiries about casts.

What are the different kinds of casts?

A cast, which keeps a bone from moving so it can heal, is essentially a big bandage that has two layers — a soft cotton layer that rests against the skin and a hard outer layer that prevents the broken bone from moving.

These days, casts are made of either:

  • plaster of paris: a heavy white powder that forms a thick paste that hardens quickly when mixed with water. Plaster of paris casts are heavier than fiberglass casts and don’t hold up well in water.
  • synthetic (fiberglass) material: made out of fiberglass, a kind of moldable plastic, these casts come in many bright colors and are lighter. The covering (fiberglass) on synthetic casts is water-resistant, but the padding underneath is not. You can, however, get a waterproof liner. The doctor putting on the cast will decide whether a fiberglass cast with a waterproof lining is appropriate.

How is a cast put on?

First, several layers of soft cotton are wrapped around the injured area. Next, the plaster or fiberglass outer layer is soaked in water. The doctor wraps the plaster or fiberglass around the soft first layer. The outer layer is wet but will dry to a hard, protective covering. Doctors sometimes make tiny cuts in the sides of a cast to allow room for swelling.

Can plaster of paris casts get wet?

Absolutely not! A wet cast may not hold the bone in place because the cast could start to dissolve in the water and could irritate the skin underneath it, possibly leading to infection. So your child shouldn’t swim and should use a plastic bag or special sleeve (available online or sometimes at pharmacies) to protect the cast from water. And instead of a shower, your child may need to take a sponge bath.

Can synthetic (fiberglass) casts get wet?

Although the fiberglass itself is waterproof, the padding inside a fiberglass cast is not. So it’s still important to try to keep a fiberglass cast from getting wet. If this is a problem, talk to the doctor about getting a waterproof liner. Fiberglass casts with waterproof liners let kids continue bathing or even go swimming during the healing process. Although the liner allows for evaporation of water and sweat, it’s still fragile. Also, only certain types of breaks can be treated with this type of cast. Your doctor will determine if the fracture may be safely treated with a waterproof cast.

Is it OK to have people sign and draw on my child’s cast?

Definitely! That often makes the whole broken bone experience more bearable for kids. Permanent markers usually work best; washable ones can smear. Feel free to encourage siblings, family members, and classmates to sign it, draw pictures on it, or decorate it with stickers. The doctor might even let your child keep the adorned cast as a souvenir.

What if my child has an itch in the cast?

Try blowing some air in the cast with a hair dryer — be sure to use the cool setting, though. And you should never pour baby powder or oils in the cast to try to relieve itching or try to reach the itch with long, pointed object such as a pencil or hanger — these could scratch or irritate your child’s skin and can lead to an infection.

What if the cast gets a crack?

This can happen if the cast is hit or crushed, has a weak spot, or if the injured area begins to swell underneath. Call your doctor as soon as you notice a crack. In most cases, a simple repair can be done to the cast without needing to remove it or change it.

What if the cast causes my child’s fingers or toes to turn white, purple, or blue, or if the skin around the edges of the cast gets red or raw?

If your child’s fingers or toes are changing color, the cast may be too tight and you should call the doctor right away.

Redness and rawness are typically signs that the cast is wet inside, from sweat or water. Sometimes, kids pick at or remove the padding from the edges of fiberglass casts. They shouldn’t do this, though, because the fiberglass edges can rub on the skin and cause irritation. Call your doctor to have the problem fixed right away.

Why aren’t some types of broken bones put in casts right away?

Some kinds of fractures are put into a splint at first, then later switched to a cast. If there is concern about swelling, the doctor may do this so a cast doesn’t get too tight.

Do all broken bones need casts?

No. Some fractures, such as a rib or collarbone, are not casted. Even displaced collarbones (in which pieces on either side of the break are out of line) heal well with a sling or special strap called a “figure-of-eight clavicle strap,” which the child wears like a vest. Some non-displaced finger and toe fractures (in which the pieces on either side of the break line up) that don’t involve the joint or the growing part of a child’s bone (called the growth plate) may heal well with a splint or buddy taping (taping the injured digit to the adjacent unaffected finger or toe).

Certain fractures of larger long bones, such as the femur (thighbone), are hard to keep straight in a cast. Although doctors used to put many of these kinds of fractures in traction (a way of gently pulling the bone straight), these days, surgery is often used instead.

Will my child feel pain when the broken bone is in a cast?

Some pain is expected for the first few days, but it’s usually not severe. The doctor may recommend acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease pain.

How are casts taken off?

The doctor will use a small electrical saw to remove the cast. Although it may look and sound scary to your child, the process is actually quick and painless. The saw’s blade isn’t sharp — it has a dull, round blade that vibrates from side to side. The vibration is strong enough to break apart the fiberglass or plaster, but shouldn’t hurt your child’s skin and may even tickle.

What will the injured area look and feel like when the cast is removed?

Once the cast is off, the injured area will probably look and feel pretty weird to your child: The skin will be pale, dry, or flaky; hair will look darker; and the area (muscles especially) will look smaller or weaker. Don’t worry, though — this is all temporary. And depending on the type and location of the fracture, the doctor may also give your child special exercises to do to get the muscles around the broken bone back in working order.

18
Jun

Fever and Taking Your Child’s Temperature

You’ve probably experienced waking in the middle of the night to find your child flushed, hot, and sweaty. Your little one’s forehead feels warm. You immediately suspect a fever, but are unsure of what to do next. Should you get out the thermometer? Call the doctor?

In healthy kids, fevers usually don’t indicate anything serious. Although it can be frightening when your child’s temperature rises, fever itself causes no harm and can actually be a good thing — it’s often the body’s way of fighting infections. And not all fevers need to be treated. High fever, however, can make a child uncomfortable and make problems (such as dehydration) worse.

Here’s more about fevers, how to measure and treat them, and when to call your doctor.

Fever Facts

Fever happens when the body’s internal “thermostat” raises the body temperature above its normal level. This thermostat is found in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus knows what temperature your body should be (usually around 98.6°F/37°C) and will send messages to your body to keep it that way.

Most people’s body temperatures even change a little bit during the course of the day: It’s usually a little lower in the morning and a little higher in the evening and can vary as kids run around, play, and exercise.

Sometimes, though, the hypothalamus will “reset” the body to a higher temperature in response to an infection, illness, or some other cause. Why? Researchers believe turning up the heat is the body’s way of fighting the germs that cause infections and making the body a less comfortable place for them.

Causes of Fever

It’s important to remember that fever by itself is not an illness — it’s usually a symptom of another problem.

Fevers have a few potential causes:

Infection: Most fevers are caused by infection or other illness. A fever helps the body fight infections by stimulating natural defense mechanisms.

Overdressing: Infants, especially newborns, may get fevers if they’re overbundled or in a hot environment because they don’t regulate their body temperature as well as older kids. However, because fevers in newborns can indicate a serious infection, even infants who are overdressed must be checked by a doctor if they have a fever.

Immunizations: Babies and kids sometimes get a low-grade fever after getting vaccinated.

Although teething may cause a slight rise in body temperature, it’s probably not the cause if a child’s temperature is higher than 100°F (37.8°C).

When Fever Is a Sign of Something Serious

In the past, doctors advised treating a fever on the basis of temperature alone. But now they recommend considering both the temperature and a child’s overall condition.

Kids whose temperatures are lower than 102°F (38.9°C) often don’t need medicine unless they’re uncomfortable. There’s one important exception to this rule: If you have an infant 3 months or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, call your doctor or go to the emergency department immediately. Even a slight fever can be a sign of a potentially serious infection in very young infants.

If your child is between 3 months and 3 years old and has a fever of 102.2°F (39°C) or higher, call your doctor to see if he or she needs to see your child. For older kids, take behavior and activity level into account. Watching how your child behaves will give you a pretty good idea of whether a minor illness is the cause or if your child should be seen by a doctor.

The illness is probably not serious if your child:

  • is still interested in playing
  • is eating and drinking well
  • is alert and smiling at you
  • has a normal skin color
  • looks well when his or her temperature comes down

And don’t worry too much about a child with a fever who doesn’t want to eat. This is very common with infections that cause fever. For kids who still drink and urinate (pee) normally, not eating as much as usual is OK.

Is it a Fever?

A gentle kiss on the forehead or a hand placed lightly on the skin is often enough to give you a hint that your child has a fever. However, this method of taking a temperature (called tactile temperature) doesn’t give an accurate measurement.

Use a reliable thermometer to confirm a fever, which is when a child’s temperature is at or above one of these levels:

  • measured orally (in the mouth): 99.5°F (37.5°C)
  • measured rectally (in the bottom): 100.4°F (38°C)
  • measured in an axillary position (under the arm): 99°F (37.2°C)

But how high a fever is doesn’t tell you much about how sick your child is. A simple cold or other viral infection can sometimes cause a rather high fever (in the 102°–104°F/38.9°–40°C range), but this doesn’t usually indicate a serious problem. And serious infections, especially those in infants, might cause no fever or even an abnormally low body temperature (below 97°F or 36.1°C).

Because fevers can rise and fall, a child might have chills as the body’s temperature begins to rise. The child may sweat to release extra heat as the temperature starts to drop.

Sometimes kids with a fever breathe faster than usual and may have a faster heart rate. Call the doctor if your child is having trouble breathing, is breathing faster than normal, or continues to breathe fast after the fever comes down.

Types of Thermometers

Whatever thermometer you choose, be sure you know how to use it correctly to get an accurate reading. Keep and follow the manufacturer’s directions for any thermometer.

Digital thermometers usually give the quickest, most accurate readings. Available in a variety of sizes and shapes, they’re sold at most supermarkets and drugstores. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to see what the thermometer is designed for and how it signals that the reading is complete.

Usually, digital thermometers can be used for these temperature-taking methods:

  • oral (in the mouth)
  • rectal (in the bottom)
  • axillary (under the arm)

Turn on the thermometer and make sure the screen is clear of any old readings. Digital thermometers usually have a plastic, flexible probe with a temperature sensor at the tip and an easy-to-read digital display on the other end. If your thermometer uses disposable plastic sleeves or covers, put one on according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Throw away the sleeve afterward and clean the thermometer according to the manufacturer’s instructions before putting it back in its case.

Electronic ear thermometers measure the tympanic temperature (the amount of heat made by the eardrum). Although they’re quick and easy to use in older babies and kids, ear thermometers aren’t as accurate as digital thermometers for infants 6 months or younger and are more expensive. They can also give inaccurate readings if not placed properly in the ear canal or if a child has earwax buildup.

Temporal artery thermometers, which are swiped over the forehead to behind the ear, measure the temperature of temporal arteries, which are blood vessels in the forehead. Using this type of thermometer takes practice and good technique to be as accurate as oral or rectal digital thermometers. Sweating can affect their accuracy, so it’s important to make sure the child’s forehead is dry and to take multiple readings to confirm the temperature.

Pacifier thermometers can be convenient, but their readings are less reliable than rectal temperatures and shouldn’t be used in infants younger than 3 months. Kids also need to keep the pacifier in their mouth for several minutes without moving, which is a nearly impossible task for most babies and toddlers.

Plastic strip thermometers (small plastic strips that you press against the forehead) might tell you whether your child has a fever, but they don’t give an exact measurement, especially in infants and very young children. If you need to know your child’s exact temperature, plastic strip thermometers are not the way to go.

Glass mercury thermometers were once common, but should not be used because of possible exposure to mercury, an environmental toxin. (If you still have a mercury thermometer, do not throw it in the trash because the mercury can leak out. Talk to your doctor or your local health department about how and where to dispose of a mercury thermometer.)

Tips for Taking Temperatures

As any parent knows, taking a squirming child’s temperature can be a challenge. But it’s one of the most important tools doctors have to determine if a child has an illness or infection. The best method will depend on a child’s age and temperament.

For babies younger than 3 months, you’ll get the most reliable reading by using a digital thermometer to take a rectal temperature. Electronic ear thermometers aren’t recommended for infants younger than 6 months because their ear canals are usually too small. Research shows that temporal artery thermometers may give accurate readings for kids in this age group.

For babies between 3 months and 6 months old, a digital rectal thermometer is still the best choice, but you can also use a temporal artery thermometer.

For kids between 6 months and 4 years old, you can use a digital thermometer to take a rectal temperature, a temporal artery thermometer, or an electronic ear thermometer. You could also use a digital thermometer to take an axillary temperature, although this is a less accurate method.

For kids 4 years or older, you can usually use a digital thermometer to take an oral temperature if your child will cooperate. However, kids who are coughing a lot or breathing through their mouths because of stuffy noses might not be able to keep their mouths closed long enough for an accurate oral reading. In these cases, you can use the tympanic method (with an electronic ear thermometer), forehead method (with a temporal artery thermometer), or axillary method (with a digital thermometer).

To take a rectal temperature: Before becoming parents, most people cringe at the thought of taking a rectal temperature. But don’t worry — it’s a simple process:

  1. Wash the end of the thermometer with soap and water and rinse with water.
  2. Moisten the tip of the thermometer with a lubricant, such as petroleum jelly.
  3. Place your child:
    – belly-down across your lap or on a firm, flat surface and keep your palm along the lower back
    – or face-up with legs bent toward the chest with your hand against the back of the thighs
  4. With your other hand, insert the lubricated thermometer into the anal opening about ½ inch to 1 inch (about 1.25 to 2.5 centimeters), or until the tip of the thermometer is fully in the rectum. Stop if you feel any resistance.
  5. Steady the thermometer between your second and third fingers as you cup your hand against your baby’s bottom. Soothe your child and speak quietly as you hold the thermometer in place.
  6. Wait until you hear the appropriate number of beeps or other signal that the temperature is ready to be read. Write down the number on the screen, noting the time of day that you took the reading.

To take an oral temperature: This process is easy in an older, cooperative child.

  1. Wait 20 to 30 minutes after your child finishes eating or drinking to take an oral temperature, and make sure there’s no gum or candy in your child’s mouth.
  2. Place the tip of the thermometer under the tongue and ask your child to close his or her lips around it. Remind your child not to bite down or talk, and to relax and breathe normally through the nose.
  3. Wait until you hear the appropriate number of beeps or other signal that the temperature is ready to be read. Write down the number on the screen, noting the time of day that you took the reading.

To take an axillary temperature: This is a convenient way to take a child’s temperature. Although not as accurate as a rectal or oral temperature in a cooperative child, some parents prefer to take an axillary temperature, especially for kids who can’t hold a thermometer in their mouths.

  1. Remove your child’s shirt and undershirt, and place the thermometer under an armpit (it must be touching skin only, not clothing).
  2. Fold your child’s arm across the chest to hold the thermometer in place.
  3. Wait until you hear the appropriate number of beeps or other signal that the temperature is ready to be read. Write down the number on the screen, noting the time of day that you took the reading.

Whatever method you choose, keep these additional tips in mind:

  • Never take a child’s temperature right after a bath or if he or she has been bundled tightly for a while — this can affect the temperature reading.
  • Never leave a child unattended while taking a temperature.

Helping Kids Feel Better

Again, not all fevers need to be treated. And in most cases, a fever should be treated only if it’s causing a child discomfort.

Here are ways to ease symptoms that often accompany a fever:

  • If your child is fussy or uncomfortable, you can give acetaminophen or ibuprofen based on the package recommendations for age or weight. (Unless instructed by a doctor, never give aspirin to a child due to its association with Reye syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease.) If you don’t know the recommended dose or your child is younger than 2 years old, call the doctor to find out how much to give.

    Infants younger than 2 months old should not be given any medicine for fever without being checked by a doctor. If your child has any medical problems, check with the doctor to see which medicine is best to use. Remember that fever medication will usually temporarily bring a temperature down, but won’t return it to normal — and it won’t treat the underlying reason for the fever.

  • Dress your child in lightweight clothing and cover with a light sheet or blanket. Overdressing and overbundling can prevent body heat from escaping and can cause a temperature to rise.
  • Make sure your child’s bedroom is a comfortable temperature — not too hot or too cold.
  • While some parents use lukewarm sponge baths to lower fever, this method only helps temporarily, if at all. In fact, sponge baths can make kids uncomfortable. Never use alcohol (it can cause poisoning when absorbed through the skin) or ice packs/cold baths (they can cause chills that may raise body temperature).
  • Offer plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration since fevers cause kids to lose fluids more rapidly than usual. Water, soup, ice pops, and flavored gelatin are all good choices. Avoid drinks with caffeine, including colas and tea, because they can make dehydration worse by increasing urination (peeing).
  • If your child also is vomiting and/or has diarrhea, ask the doctor if you should give an electrolyte (rehydration) solution made especially for kids. You can find these at drugstores and supermarkets. Don’t offer sports drinks — they’re not made for younger children and the added sugars can make diarrhea worse. Also, limit your child’s intake of fruits and apple juice.
  • In general, let your child eat what he or she wants (in reasonable amounts) but don’t force eating if your child doesn’t feel like it.
  • Make sure your child gets plenty of rest. Staying in bed all day isn’t necessary, but a sick child should take it easy.
  • It’s best to keep a child with a fever home from school or childcare. Most doctors feel that it’s safe to return when the temperature has been normal for 24 hours.

When to Call the Doctor

The exact temperature that should trigger a call to the doctor depends on the age of the child, the illness, and whether there are other symptoms with the fever.

Call your doctor if you have an:

  • infant younger than 3 months old with a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher
  • older child with a temperature of higher than 102.2°F (39°C)

Call the doctor if an older child has a fever of less than 102.2°F (39°C) but also:

  • refuses fluids or seems too ill to drink adequately
  • has lasting diarrhea or repeated vomiting
  • has any signs of dehydration (peeing less than usual, not having tears when crying, less alert and less active than usual)
  • has a specific complaint (like a sore throat or earache)
  • still has a fever after 24 hours (in kids younger than 2 years) or 72 hours (in kids 2 years or older)
  • is getting fevers a lot, even if they only last a few hours each night
  • has a chronic medical problem such as heart disease, cancer, lupus, or sickle cell disease
  • has a rash
  • has pain while urinating (peeing)

Seek emergency care if your child shows any of these signs:

  • crying that won’t stop
  • extreme irritability or fussiness
  • sluggishness and trouble waking up
  • rash or purple spots that look like bruises on the skin (that were not there before the child got sick)
  • blue lips, tongue, or nails
  • infant’s soft spot on the head seems to be bulging outward or sunken inwards
  • stiff neck
  • severe headache
  • limpness or refusal to move
  • difficulty breathing that doesn’t get better when the nose is cleared
  • leaning forward and drooling
  • seizure
  • abdominal (belly) pain

Also, ask your doctor for his or her specific guidelines on when to call about a fever.

Fever: A Common Part of Childhood

All kids get fevers, and in most cases they’re completely back to normal within a few days. For older babies and kids (but not necessarily for infants younger than 3 months), the way they act is more important than the reading on your thermometer. Everyone gets cranky when they have a fever. This is normal and should be expected.

But if you’re ever in doubt about what to do or what a fever might mean, or if your child is acting ill in a way that concerns you even if there’s no fever, always call your doctor for advice.

18
Jun

Eye Injuries

Eye injuries are the most common preventable cause of blindness. While many minor eye irritations can be treated at home by flushing the eye with water, more serious injuries need medical attention. So when in doubt, err on the side of caution and call your doctor for help.

What to Do:

Routine Irritations
(sand, dirt, and other foreign bodies on the eye surface)

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before touching the eyelids to examine or flush the eye.
  • Do not touch, press, or rub the eye itself, and do whatever you can to keep your child from touching it (a baby can be swaddled to prevent this).
  • Do not try to remove any foreign body except by flushing. Other methods can scratch the surface of the eye, especially the cornea.
  • Tilt your child’s head over a basin or sink with the affected eye down and gently pull down the lower lid. Encourage your child to open the eyes as wide as possible. For an infant or small child, it’s helpful to have a second person hold the child’s eyes open while you flush.
  • Gently pour a steady stream of lukewarm water (do not heat the water) from a pitcher or faucet over the eye.
  • Flush for up to 15 minutes, checking the eye every 5 minutes to see if the foreign body has been flushed out.
  • Because a particle can scratch the cornea and cause an infection, the eye should be examined by a doctor if irritation continues after flushing.
  • A foreign body that remains after flushing probably will require removal by a trained medical professional.

Embedded Foreign Body
(an object penetrates or enters the globe of the eye)

If an object, such as a piece of glass or metal, is sticking out of the eye, take the following steps:

  • Call for emergency medical help or bring the child to the emergency room.
  • Cover the affected eye with a small cup taped in place. The point is to keep all pressure off the eye.
  • Keep your child (and yourself) as calm and comfortable as possible until help arrives.

Chemical Exposure

  • Many chemicals, even those found around the house, can damage an eye. If your child gets a chemical in the eye and you know what it is, look on the product’s container for an emergency number to call for instructions.
  • Flush the eye (see Routine Irritations) immediately with lukewarm water for 15 to 30 minutes. If both eyes are affected, flush them in the shower.
  • Call for emergency medical help.

Call your local poison control center for specific instructions. Be prepared to give the exact name of the chemical, if you have it. However, do not delay flushing the eye first.

Black Eyes and Blunt Injuries

A black eye is often a minor injury. But this bruising also can be the result of a significant eye injury or head trauma. A visit to the doctor or an eye specialist might be needed to rule out serious injury, particularly if you’re not sure what caused the black eye.

For a black eye:

  • Apply cold compresses intermittently: 5 to 10 minutes on, 10 to 15 minutes off. If you use ice, make sure it’s covered with a towel or sock to protect the delicate skin on the eyelid.
  • Use cold compresses for 24 to 48 hours, then switch to applying warm compresses intermittently. This will help the body reabsorb the leakage of blood and may help reduce discoloration.
  • If the child is in pain, give acetaminophen — not aspirin or ibuprofen, which can increase bleeding.
  • Prop the child’s head with an extra pillow at night, and encourage him or her to sleep on the uninjured side of the face (pressure can increase swelling).
  • Call your doctor, who may recommend an in-depth evaluation to rule out damage to the eye. Call immediately if you see any of these problems:
    • increased redness
    • drainage from the eye
    • lasting eye pain
    • any changes in vision
    • any visible abnormality of the eyeball
    • visible bleeding on the white part (sclera) of the eye, especially near the cornea

If the injury happened during one of your child’s routine activities, such as a sport, follow up by investing in an ounce of prevention — protective goggles or unbreakable glasses are vitally important.

18
Jun

Dehydration

Under normal conditions, we all lose some body water every day in our sweat, tears, urine, and stool. Water also evaporates from skin and leaves the body as vapor when we breathe. We usually replace this body fluid and the salts it contains with the water and salts in our regular diet.

Sometimes, however, kids lose large amounts of water and salts through fever (more water evaporates from the body when body temperature is increased), diarrhea, vomiting, or long periods of exercise with excessive sweating. Some illnesses might also prevent them from taking fluids by mouth. If they’re unable to adequately replace the fluid that’s been lost, kids can become dehydrated.

Recognizing Dehydration

If your child has fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, or is sweating a lot on a hot day or during intense physical activity, watch for signs of dehydration, which can include:

  • dry or sticky mouth
  • few or no tears when crying
  • eyes that look sunken into the head
  • soft spot (fontanelle) on top of baby’s head that looks sunken
  • lack of urine or wet diapers for 6 to 8 hours in an infant (or only a very small amount of dark yellow urine)
  • lack of urine for 12 hours in an older child (or only a very small amount of dark yellow urine)
  • dry, cool skin
  • lethargy or irritability
  • fatigue or dizziness in an older child

Preventing Dehydration

The best way to prevent dehydration is to make sure kids get plenty of fluids when they’re sick or physically active — they should consume more fluids than they lose (from vomiting, diarrhea, or sweating).

How to keep them hydrated can depend on the circumstances. For example, a child with a sore throat may become dehydrated due to difficulty drinking or eating. Easing the pain with acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help, and cold drinks or popsicles can soothe a burning throat while also supplying fluids.

Fever due to various infections can be a factor in dehydration. Although not all fevers need to be treated, if your child is uncomfortable and not drinking enough fluids you can use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help control the fever.

It’s important that kids drink often during hot weather. Those who participate in sports or strenuous activities should drink some extra fluid before the activity begins. They should also drink at regular intervals (about every 20 minutes) during the course of the activity and after it ends. Ideally, sports practices and competitions should be scheduled for the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Thirst is not a good early sign of dehydration. By the time a child feels thirsty, he or she may already be dehydrated. And thirst can be quenched before the necessary body fluids have been replaced. That’s why kids should start drinking before thirst develops and consume additional fluids even after thirst is quenched.

Dehydration and the “Stomach Flu”

Kids with mild gastroenteritis (also called the “stomach flu,” which can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea) who aren’t dehydrated should continue to eat normally but should be encouraged to drink additional fluid to replace fluid lost from vomiting and diarrhea. Most kids with gastroenteritis can safely eat a regular age-appropriate diet while they’re sick.

In fact, feeding a regular diet to kids who have diarrhea may even reduce the duration of diarrhea, while offering proper nutrition. Infants with mild gastroenteritis who aren’t dehydrated should continue to receive breast milk or regular-strength formula. Older kids may continue to drink full-strength milk and other fluids.

Foods that are usually well tolerated by kids with gastroenteritis who aren’t dehydrated include: complex carbohydrates (such as rice, wheat, potatoes, bread, and cereals), lean meats, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid fatty foods or foods high in sugars (including juices and soft drinks). If the child is vomiting and isn’t dehydrated, give fluids frequently, but in small amounts.

Treating Dehydration

It’s important for parents to learn to recognize the early signs of dehydration and to respond quickly if they develop.

The goal in treating dehydration is to replace fluids in order to restore the levels of body fluids to normal.

A child who’s mildly dehydrated due to overexertion will probably be thirsty and should be allowed to drink as much as he or she wants. Plain water is the best option. Also, the child should rest in a cool, shaded environment until the lost fluid has been replaced. If your child is engaged in prolonged vigorous activity, sports drinks containing sugar and electrolytes (salts) are a good option.

Rehydration

Children with mild to moderate dehydration due to diarrhea from an illness (such as gastroenteritis) should have their lost fluids replaced with a special liquid called an oral rehydration solution (ORS). This is available in many grocery stores and pharmacies without a prescription and is designed for kids who are dehydrated. It contains just the right combination of sugar and salts to help the intestines absorb what the body needs.

The replacement of lost fluids is known as rehydration, which is achieved by replacing the lost fluids using an ORS over the course of 3 to 4 hours. Start the rehydration process by giving your child 1 or 2 teaspoons (5 or 10 milliliters) of an ORS every few minutes. This can be done with a spoon or an oral syringe. Although this may not seem like enough fluids to rehydrate your child, these small amounts can add up to more than a cup (237 milliliters) an hour. If the child does well, you can gradually give bigger sips a little less often.

Even kids who are vomiting can usually be successfully rehydrated this way because the small frequent sips get absorbed in between the vomiting episodes. In addition, the correction of dehydration often lessens the frequency of vomiting.

In nursing infants, breastfeeding should be continued, even during the initial rehydration process unless they’re vomiting repeatedly. The ORS can be given in between breastfeedings. For babies who are formula-fed, formula should be stopped during rehydration and restarted as soon as the child is able to keep fluids down and is no longer showing signs of dehydration. Changes in formula usually aren’t necessary.

Other “clear liquids” often used by parents or recommended by doctors in the past are no longer considered appropriate for use in dehydrated kids. Drinks to avoid include: water, soda, ginger ale, tea, fruit juice, gelatin desserts, chicken broth, or sports drinks. These don’t have the right mix of sugar and salts and can even make diarrhea worse.

Once your child is rehydrated, you can resume a normal unrestricted diet, including breast milk, formula, or milk. Resuming an age-appropriate diet early is essential in supplying your child with necessary calories and nutrients and can even reduce the duration of gastroenteritis.

Some old wives’ tales about treating dehydration are not recommended. For example, the practice of withholding food for more than 24 hours is inappropriate and can be unsafe. Likewise, specific diets that have been commonly recommended in the past — such as the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) — are unnecessarily restrictive and do not provide the best nutrition for a child’s recovering intestinal tract. Also, over-the-counter medicines for diarrhea or vomiting are not recommended for kids, as they can have serious side effects. Appropriate fluids — not medicines — are the key to treatment of gastroenteritis.

Some dehydrated kids do not improve when given an ORS, especially if they have very frequent bouts of explosive diarrhea or frequent vomiting. When fluid losses can’t be replaced because of ongoing vomiting, difficulty swallowing, repeated episodes of diarrhea, or other reasons, a child might need to receive intravenous (IV) fluids in the hospital.

If you’re treating your child for dehydration at home and feel that there’s no improvement or that the dehydration is worsening, call your doctor right away or take your child to the nearest emergency department.

18
Jun

Dealing With Cuts

Most small cuts don’t present any danger to kids. But larger cuts often require immediate medical treatment. Depending on the type of wound and its location, occasionally there is a risk of damage to tendons and nerves.

Cuts Instruction Sheet

What to Do:

For Minor Bleeding From a Small Cut or Abrasion (Scrape):

  • Rinse the wound thoroughly with water to clean out dirt and debris.
  • Then wash the wound with a mild soap and rinse thoroughly. (For minor wounds, it isn’t necessary to use an antiseptic solution to prevent infection, and some can cause allergic skin reactions.)
  • Cover the wound with a sterile adhesive bandage or sterile gauze and adhesive tape.
  • Examine the wound daily. If the bandage gets wet, remove it and apply a new one. After the wound forms a scab, a bandage is no longer necessary.
  • Call your doctor if the wound is red, swollen, tender, warm, or draining pus.

For Bleeding From a Large Cut or Laceration:

  • Wash the wound thoroughly with water. This will allow you to see the wound clearly and assess its size.
  • Place a piece of sterile gauze or a clean cloth over the entire wound. If available, use clean latex or rubber gloves to protect yourself from exposure to possible infection from the blood of a child who isn’t your own. If you can, raise the bleeding body part above the level of the child’s heart. Do not apply a tourniquet.
  • Using the palm of your hand on the gauze or cloth, apply steady, direct pressure to the wound for 5 minutes. (During the 5 minutes, do not stop to check the wound or remove blood clots that may form on the gauze.)
  • If blood soaks through the gauze, do not remove it. Apply another gauze pad on top and continue applying pressure.
  • Call your doctor or seek immediate medical attention for all large cuts or lacerations, or if:
    • you’re unable to stop the bleeding after 5 minutes of pressure, or if the wound begins bleeding again (continue applying pressure until help arrives)
    • you’re unable to clean out dirt and debris thoroughly, or there’s something else stuck in the wound
    • the wound is on the child’s face or neck
    • the injury was caused by an animal or human bite, burn, electrical injury, or puncture wound (e.g., a nail)
    • the cut is more than half an inch long or appears to be deep — large or deep wounds can result in nerve or tendon damage

If you have any doubt about whether stitches are needed, call your doctor.

18
Jun

Concussions

The term concussion might make you think of someone knocked unconscious while playing sports. But concussions — temporary disruptions of brain function — can happen with any head injury, often without a loss of consciousness.

And while we often hear about head injuries in athletes, most concussions happen off the playing field — in car and bicycle accidents, in fights, and even minor falls.

About Concussions

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. The brain is made of soft tissue and is cushioned by spinal fluid. It is encased in the hard, protective skull. The brain can move around inside the skull and even bang against it. If the brain bangs against the skull — for example, due to a fall on a playground or a whiplash-type of injury — blood vessels can be torn and the nerves inside the brain can be injured. These injuries can cause a concussion.

Anyone who has a head injury should be watched closely for signs of a concussion, even if the person feels OK. An undiagnosed concussion can put someone at risk for brain damage and even disability. So anyone who has any symptom of a concussion should be examined right away by a doctor.

Sports-related concussions are receiving increased attention. Doctors now recommend these steps after a suspected concussion:

  1. The player should immediately stop playing or practicing.
  2. The player should get checked out by a doctor before returning to practice or play.

Kids who get concussions usually recover within a week or two without lasting health problems by following certain precautions and taking a break from sports and other activities that make symptoms worse.

Signs and Symptoms

Someone with a concussion may be knocked unconscious, but this doesn’t happen in every case. In fact, a brief loss of consciousness or “blacking out” doesn’t mean a concussion is any more or less serious than one where a person didn’t black out.

If your child might have had a concussion, go to the emergency room if he or she has any of these symptoms:

  • loss of consciousness
  • severe headache, including a headache that gets worse
  • blurred vision
  • trouble walking
  • confusion and saying things that don’t make sense
  • slurred speech
  • unresponsiveness (you’re unable to wake your child)

Call your doctor right away to report other problems, such as vomiting, dizziness, headache, or trouble concentrating. Then you can get advice on what to do next. For milder symptoms, the doctor may recommend rest and ask you to watch your child closely for changes, such as a headache that gets worse.

Symptoms of a concussion don’t always show up right away, and can develop within 24 to 72 hours after an injury. Young children usually have the same physical symptoms as older kids and adults, but cognitive and emotional symptoms (such as irritability and frustration) can appear later, be harder to notice, and last longer. Sleep-related issues are more common in teens.

Though most kids recover quickly from concussions, some symptoms — including memory loss, headaches, and problems with concentration— may linger for several weeks or months. It’s important to watch for these symptoms and contact your doctor if they last. Often, in these cases, children need further evaluation and treatment.

Diagnosis

To diagnose a concussion, the doctor will ask about how and when the head injury happened, and about your child’s symptoms. The doctor also may ask basic questions to test your child’s consciousness, memory, and concentration (“Who are you?”/”Where are you?”/”What day is it?”).

The doctor also will do a physical exam and focus on the nervous system by testing balance, coordination, nerve function, and reflexes. Sometimes a computed tomography (CAT scan or CT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scan will be done to rule out internal bleeding or other problems from the injury.

Some kids who have head injuries from playing organized sports are examined by a coach or athletic trainer immediately after they’re injured. This is known as sideline concussion testing because it might happen on the sidelines during a game. Sideline testing is common in schools and sports leagues. By watching a player’s behavior and doing a few simple tests, a trained person can see if immediate medical care is needed.

Lots of schools or sports leagues use computerized programs that test players at the start of a sports season to measure their normal brain function and ability to process information. These tests are called baseline concussion tests. After a possible injury, sideline test results are compared with baseline test results to help doctors determine if there’s been a change in brain function and to help make a diagnosis.

Treatment

Because each concussion is unique, symptoms can differ in severity. For this reason, treatment depends on a child’s particular condition and situation.

If a concussion is not serious enough to require hospitalization, a doctor will give instructions on home care. This includes watching the child closely for the first 24 to 72 hours after the injury. It is not necessary to wake the child up while he or she is sleeping to check for symptoms.

If a child has a headache that gets worse quickly, becomes increasingly confused, or has other symptoms (such as continued vomiting), it may mean there is a more serious problem. Call the doctor if your child has any of these symptoms.

Otherwise, home care for a concussion may include:

  • Physical rest. This means not doing things like sports and physical activities until the concussion is completely healed. While they still have symptoms, kids should do only the basic activities of day-to-day living. This reduces stress on the brain and decreases the chances of re-injuring the head in a fall or other accident.

    When all symptoms are gone, kids should return to physical activities slowly, working their way back to pre-concussion levels.

  • Mental rest. This means avoiding any cognitive (thinking) activity that could make symptoms worse, such as using a computer, cellphone, or other device; doing schoolwork; reading; and watching TV or playing video games. If these “brain” activities do not make symptoms worse, kids can start them again gradually, but should stop immediately if symptoms return.
  • Eating well and drinking plenty of non-caffeinated beverages.

Kids with concussions also should avoid bright lights and loud noises, which can make symptoms worse. While they have symptoms, teens should take time off from work and not drive, operate heavy machinery, or do any other activities that require quick decisions and reactions.

Healthy kids usually can return to their normal activities within a few weeks, but each situation is different. The doctor will monitor your child closely to make sure that recovery is going well, and might recommend acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or other aspirin-free medicines for headaches. Pain medicines can hide symptoms, though, so kids should not return to normal activities until they no longer need to take them.

Returning to Normal Activities

Be sure to get the OK from the doctor before your child returns to sports or other physical activities. Sometimes kids feel better even though their thinking, behavior, and/or balance have not yet returned to normal.

Even if your child pleads that he or she feels fine or a competitive coach or school official urges you to go against medical instructions, it’s essential to wait until the doctor has said it’s safe to return to normal activities. To protect kids and remove coaches from the decision-making process, almost every state has rules about when kids with concussions can start playing sports again.

It’s very important for anyone with a concussion to heal completely before doing anything that could lead to another concussion. Hurrying back to sports and other physical activities increases the risk of a condition called second-impact syndrome, which can happen as a result of a second head injury. Although very rare, second impact syndrome can cause lasting brain damage and even death.

Preventing Concussions

All kids should wear properly fitting, appropriate headgear and safety equipment when playing contact sports or biking, rollerblading, skateboarding, snowboarding, or skiing. Nothing can prevent every concussion, but safety gear has been shown to help protect against severe head trauma.

Childproofing your home will go a long way toward keeping an infant or toddler safe from concussions and other injuries. Babies reach, grasp, roll, sit, crawl, pull up, “cruise” along furniture, and walk. Toddlers may pull themselves up using table legs; they’ll use bureaus and dressers as jungle gyms; they’ll reach for whatever they can see. All of these activities can result in a head injury that leads to a concussion. Be sure your child has a safe place to play and explore, and never leave a baby or toddler unattended.

Proper child car seats, booster seats, and seatbelts can help prevent head injuries in the event of a car accident and should be used every time kids are in a car.

People are much more likely to sustain a concussion if they’ve had one before, so prevention is even more important following a head injury. Evidence shows that repeated concussions can result in lasting brain damage, even when the injuries happen months or years apart.

Concussions are serious injuries that can become even more serious if kids don’t get the time and rest needed to heal them completely. Safety precautions can help prevent concussions, and following a doctor’s advice can minimize their effects if they do happen.

18
Jun

choking

When a child is choking, it means that an object — usually food or a toy — is stuck in the trachea (the airway), keeping air from flowing normally into or out of the lungs, so the child can’t breathe properly.

The trachea is usually protected by a small flap of cartilage called the epiglottis . The trachea and the esophagus  share an opening at the back of the throat, and the epiglottis acts like a lid, snapping shut over the trachea each time a person swallows. It allows food to pass down the esophagus and prevents it from going down the trachea.

But every once in a while, the epiglottis doesn’t close fast enough and an object can slip into the trachea. This is what happens when something goes “down the wrong pipe.”

Most of the time, the food or object only partially blocks the trachea, is coughed up, and breathing returns to normal quickly. Kids who seem to be choking and coughing but still can breathe and talk usually recover without help. It can be uncomfortable and upsetting for them, but they’re generally fine after a few seconds.

Choking Can Be an Emergency

Sometimes, an object can get into the trachea and completely block the airway. If airflow into and out of the lungs is blocked and the brain is deprived of oxygen, choking can become a life-threatening emergency.

A child may be choking and need help right away if he or she:

  • WhatToDo_button.gifis unable to breathe
  • is gasping or wheezing
  • can’t talk, cry, or make noise
  • turns blue
  • grabs at his or her throat or waves arms
  • appears panicked
  • becomes limp or unconscious

In those cases, immediately start abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich maneuver), the standard rescue procedure for choking, if you’ve been trained to do so.

Abdominal Thrusts (The Heimlich Maneuver)

If you have kids, it’s important to get trained in both cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the technique of abdominal thrusts (the Heimlich maneuver). Even if you don’t have kids, knowing how to perform these first-aid procedures will let you help if you’re ever in a situation where someone is choking.

The idea of abdominal thrusts is that a sudden burst of air forced upward through the trachea from the diaphragm will dislodge a foreign object and send it flying up into (or even out of) the mouth.

Though the technique is pretty simple, abdominal thrusts must be done with caution, especially on young children. They are safest when done by someone trained to do them. If done the wrong way, the choking person — especially a baby or child — could be hurt. There’s a special version of abdominal thrusts just for infants that is designed to lower the risk of injury to their small bodies.

The technique of abdominal thrusts and CPR are usually taught as part of basic first-aid courses, which are offered by YMCAs, hospitals, and local chapters of the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Red Cross.

What to Do

Call 911 for any critical choking situation.

Here are several possible situations you might face and tips on how to handle them:

  • If a child is choking and coughing but can breathe and talk, this means the airway is not completely blocked. It’s best to do nothing but watch the child carefully and make sure he or she recovers completely. The child will likely be fine after a good coughing spell. Don’t reach into the mouth to grab the object or even pat the child on the back. Either of these steps could push the object farther down the airway and make the situation worse. Stay with the child and remain calm until the episode passes.
  • If a child is conscious but can’t breathe, talk, or make noise, or is turning blue, the situation calls for abdominal thrusts. Call 911 or tell someone nearby to call 911 immediately. Begin the thrusts if you’ve been trained to do so. If you haven’t been trained, and no one else is available who has been, wait until help arrives.
  • If the child was choking and is now unconscious and no longer breathing, shout for help and call 911, or tell someone nearby to call 911 immediately. Then proceed immediately to CPR, if you’ve been trained in it. If you have not been trained, and no one else is available who has been, wait until help arrives.

When to Call the Doctor or Go to the ER

Take your child for emergency medical care after any major choking episode.

Also seek emergency medical care for a child if:

  • there is a lasting cough, drooling, gagging, wheezing, difficulty swallowing, or difficulty breathing
  • the child turned blue, became limp, or was unconscious during the episode, even if he or she seemed to recover
  • you think the child has swallowed an object, such as a toy or battery

If your child had an episode that seemed like choking but fully recovered after a coughing spell, there is no need to seek immediate medical care but you should call your doctor.

Preventing Choking

All kids are at risk for choking, but those younger than 3 are especially vulnerable. Young children tend to put things in their mouths, have smaller airways that are easily blocked, and don’t have a lot of experience chewing so often swallow things whole.

You can help minimize the risks of choking:

  • Avoid foods that pose choking risks (like hot dogs, grapes, raw carrots, nuts, raisins, hard or gummy candy, spoonfuls of peanut butter, chunks of meat or cheese, and popcorn), which are a similar size and shape as a child’s airway.
  • At mealtime, be sure to serve a child’s food in small, manageable bites. That means cutting whole grapes into quarters, cutting hot dogs lengthwise and into pieces (and remove the tough skin), and cooking vegetables rather than serving them raw. Teach kids to sit down for all meals and snacks and not to talk or laugh with food in their mouths.
  • Toys and household items also can be choking hazards — beware of deflated balloons, coins, beads, small toy parts, and batteries. Get down on the floor often to check for objects that kids who are learning to walk or crawl could put in their mouths and choke on. You’d be surprised by the things that routinely fall off counters or out of pockets and end up under furniture, behind curtains, etc.
  • Choose safe, age-appropriate toys. Always follow the manufacturer’s age recommendations — some toys have small parts that can cause choking. To determine if a toy is too small, see if it passes easily through an empty cardboard toilet paper tube. If it does, it’s too small. Any object smaller than the size of a golf ball has the potential to enter the mouth and block the airway.

Take the time now to become prepared. CPR and first-aid courses are a must for parents, other caregivers, and babysitters. To find one in your area, contact your local American Red Cross, YMCA, or American Heart Association chapter, or check with hospitals and health departments in your community.

18
Jun

CPR

Every parent should know how and when to administer CPR. When performed correctly, CPR can save a child’s life by restoring blood flow to the heart, brain, and other organs and restoring breathing until advanced life support can be given by health care providers.

About CPR

CPR (or cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is a combination of chest compressions and rescue breathing (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation). If someone isn’t circulating blood or breathing adequately, CPR can restore circulation of oxygen-rich blood to the brain. Without oxygen, permanent brain damage or death can happen in less than 8 minutes.

CPR might be necessary in many different emergencies, including accidents, near-drowning, suffocation, poisoning, smoke inhalation, electrocution injuries, and suspected sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Reading about CPR and learning when it’s needed will give you a basic understanding of the concept and procedure, but it’s strongly recommended that you learn the details of how to perform CPR by taking a course. If CPR is needed, using the correct technique will give someone the best chance of survival.

CPR is most successful when started as quickly as possible, but you must first determine if it’s necessary. It should only be performed when a person isn’t breathing or circulating blood adequately.

First, determine that it’s safe to approach the person in trouble. For instance, if someone was injured in an accident on a busy highway, you’d have to be extremely careful about ongoing traffic as you try to help. Or if someone touched an exposed wire and was electrocuted, you’d have to be certain that he or she is no longer in contact with electricity before offering assistance to prevent becoming electrocuted yourself. (For instance, turn off the source of electricity, such as a light switch or a circuit breaker.)

Once you know that you can safely approach someone who needs help, quickly evaluate whether the person is responsive. Look for things such as eye opening, sounds from the mouth, chest movement, or other signs of life such as movement of the arms and legs.

In infants and younger kids, rubbing the chest (over the breastbone) can help determine if there is any level of responsiveness. In older kids and adults, this also can be done by gently tapping the shoulders and asking if they’re all right.

Whenever CPR is needed, remember to call for emergency medical assistance. Current CPR courses teach you that if you are alone with an unresponsive infant or child, you should perform CPR for about 2 minutes before calling for help.

Three Parts of CPR

The three basic parts of CPR are easily remembered as “CAB”: C for compressions, A for airway, and B for breathing.

  1. C is for compressions. Chest compressions can help improve the flow of blood to the heart, brain, and other organs. CPR begins with 30 chest compressions, followed by two rescue breaths. This cycle is immediately repeated and continued until the child recovers or help arrives. It is not necessary to check for signs of circulation to perform this technique.

    According to the American Heart Association (AHA), rescuers doing compressions should “push hard, fast, and in the center of the chest.” A CPR course will teach you how to perform chest compressions in infants, kids, and adults, and how to coordinate the compressions with rescue breathing.

  2. A is for airway. After 30 compressions have been completed, the victim’s airway must be open for breathing to be restored. The airway may be blocked by the tongue when someone loses consciousness or may be obstructed by food or another foreign object.

    In a CPR course, participants learn how to open the airway and position the person so the airway is ready for rescue breathing. The course will include what to do to clear the airway if you believe an infant or child has choked and the airway is blocked.

  3. B is for breathing. Rescue breathing is begun after 30 compressions have been completed and the airway is open. Someone performing rescue breathing essentially breathes for the victim by forcing air into the lungs. This procedure includes breathing into the victim’s mouth at correct intervals and checking for signs of life.

    A CPR course will review correct techniques and procedures for rescuers to position themselves to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to infants, kids, and adults.

Taking a CPR Course

Nearby hospitals and your local chapters of the AHA and the American Red Cross are good resources for finding a CPR course in your area.

Qualified instructors may use videos, printed materials, and demonstrations on mannequins representing infants, kids, and adults to teach proper techniques for performing CPR.

The AHA offers many levels of CPR courses. A basic course that includes CPR lasts several hours and takes place within one session. It covers adult, child, and infant CPR and choking. Participants practice the techniques on mannequins and can ask questions and get individualized instruction.

Because CPR is a skill that must be practiced, it’s wise to repeat the course at least every 2 years to maintain your skills. Doing so also allows you to learn about any new advances or discoveries in CPR techniques.

Remember, taking a CPR course could help you save your child’s — or someone else’s — life someday.

18
Jun

burns

From kids washing up under a too-hot faucet to an accidental tipping of a coffee cup, burns are a potential hazard in every home. In fact, burns, especially scalds from hot water and liquids, are some of the most common childhood accidents.

Babies and young children are especially at risk — they’re curious, small, and have sensitive skin that needs extra protection.

Although some minor burns aren’t cause for concern and can be safely treated at home, other more serious burns require medical care. But taking some simple precautions to make your home safer can prevent many burns.

Common Causes

The first step in helping to prevent kids from being burned is to understand these common causes of burns:

  • scalds, the No. 1 culprit (from steam, hot bath water, tipped-over coffee cups, hot foods, cooking fluids, etc.)
  • contact with flames or hot objects (from the stove, fireplace, curling iron, etc.)
  • chemical burns (from swallowing things, like drain cleaner or watch batteries, or spilling chemicals, such as bleach, onto the skin)
  • electrical burns (from biting on electrical cords or sticking fingers or objects in electrical outlets, etc.)
  • overexposure to the sun

Types of Burns

Burns are often categorized as first-, second-, or third-degree, depending on how badly the skin is damaged. Each of the injuries above can cause any of these three types of burns. The type of burn and its cause will determine how the burn is treated.

All burns should be treated quickly to reduce the temperature of the burned area and reduce damage to the skin and underlying tissue (if the burn is severe).

First-Degree Burns

First-degree burns, the mildest of the three, are limited to the top layer of skin:

  • Signs and symptoms: These burns produce redness, pain, and minor swelling. The skin is dry without blisters.
  • Healing time: Healing time is about 3 to 6 days; the superficial skin layer over the burn may peel off in 1 or 2 days.

Second-Degree Burns

Second-degree burns are more serious and involve the skin layers beneath the top layer:

  • Signs and symptoms: These burns produce blisters, severe pain, and redness. The blisters sometimes break open and the area is wet looking with a bright pink to cherry red color.
  • Healing time: Healing time varies depending on the severity of the burn. It can take up to 3 weeks or more.

Third-Degree Burns

Third-degree burns are the most serious type of burn and involve all the layers of the skin and underlying tissue:

  • Signs and symptoms: The surface appears dry and can look waxy white, leathery, brown, or charred. There may be little or no pain or the area may feel numb at first because of nerve damage.
  • Healing time: Healing time depends on the severity of the burn. Third-degree burns (called full-thickness burns) will likely need to be treated with skin grafts, in which healthy skin is taken from another part of the body and surgically placed over the burn wound to help the area heal.

What to Do

Seek Medical Help Immediately When:

  • You think your child has a second- or third-degree burn.
  • The burned area is large (2-3 inches in diameter), even if it seems like a minor burn. For any burn that appears to cover more than 10% of the body, call for medical assistance. Do not use wet compresses or ice because they can cause the child’s body temperature to drop. Instead, cover the area with a clean, soft cloth or towel.
  • The burn comes from a fire, an electrical wire or socket, or chemicals.
  • The burn is on the face, scalp, hands, joint surfaces, or genitals.
  • The burn looks infected (with swelling, pus, increasing redness, or red streaking of the skin near the wound).

For First-Degree Burns:

  • Remove the child from the heat source.
  • Remove clothing from the burned area immediately.
  • Run cool (not cold) water over the burned area (if water isn’t available, any cold, drinkable fluid can be used) or hold a clean, cold compress on the burn for approximately 3-5 minutes (do not use ice, as it may cause more destruction to the injured skin).
  • Do not apply butter, grease, powder, or any other remedies to the burn, as these can make the burn deeper and increase the risk of infection.
  • Apply aloe gel or cream to the affected area. This may be done a few times during the day.
  • Give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain. Refer to the dosing guidelines on the label according to your child’s age or weight.
  • If the area affected is small (the size of a quarter or smaller), keep it clean. You can protect it with a sterile gauze pad or bandage for the next 24 hours (but do not use adhesive bandages on very young kids, as these can be a choking hazard).

For Second- and Third-Degree Burns:

  • Call for emergency medical care, then follow these steps until medical personnel arrive:
    • Keep your child lying down with the burned area elevated.
    • Follow the instructions for first-degree burns.
    • Remove all jewelry and clothing from around the burn (in case there’s any swelling after the injury), except for clothing that’s stuck to the skin. If you’re having difficulty removing clothing, you may need to cut it off or wait until medical assistance arrives.
    • Do not break any blisters.
    • Apply cool water over the area for at least 3-5 minutes, then cover the area with a clean dry cloth or sheet until help arrives.
  • What to Do (continued)

    For Flame Burns:

    • Extinguish the flames by having your child roll on the ground.
    • Cover him or her with a blanket or jacket.
    • Remove smoldering clothing and any jewelry around the burned area.
    • Call for medical assistance, then follow instructions for second- and third-degree burns.

    For Electrical and Chemical Burns:

    • Make sure the child is not in contact with the electrical source before touching him or her, or you also may get shocked.
    • For chemical burns, flush the area with lots of running water for 5 minutes or more. If the burned area is large, use a tub, shower, buckets of water, or a garden hose.
    • Do not remove any of your child’s clothing before you’ve begun flushing the burn with water. As you continue flushing the burn, you can then remove clothing from the burned area.
    • If the burned area from a chemical is small, flush for another 10-20 minutes, apply a sterile gauze pad or bandage, and call your doctor.
    • Chemical burns to the mouth or eyes require immediate medical evaluation after thorough flushing with water.

    Although both chemical and electrical burns might not always be visible, they can be serious because of potential damage to internal organs. Symptoms may vary, depending on the type and severity of the burn and what caused it.

    If you think your child may have swallowed a chemical substance or an object that could be harmful (for instance, a watch battery), first call poison control and then the emergency department.

    It is helpful to know what chemical product the child has swallowed or has been exposed to. You may need to take it with you to the hospital. Keep the number for poison control, (800) 222-1222, in an easily accessible place, such as on the refrigerator.

Preventing Burns

You can’t keep kids free from injuries all the time, but these simple precautions can reduce the chances of burns in your home:

In General

  • Keep matches, lighters, chemicals, and lit candles out of kids’ reach.
  • Put child-safety covers on all electrical outlets.
  • Get rid of equipment and appliances with old or frayed cords and extension cords that look damaged.
  • If you need to use a humidifier or vaporizer, use a cool-mist model rather than a hot-steam one.
  • Choose sleepwear that’s labeled flame retardant (either polyester or treated cotton). Cotton sweatshirts or pants that aren’t labeled as sleepwear generally aren’t flame retardant.
  • Make sure older kids and teens are especially careful when using irons, flat irons, or curling irons.
  • Prevent house fires by making sure you have a smoke alarm on every level of your home and in each bedroom. Check these monthly and change the batteries twice a year.
  • Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older.
  • If you smoke, don’t smoke in the house, especially when you’re tired, taking medicines that can make you drowsy, or in bed.
  • Don’t use fireworks or sparklers.

Bathroom

  • Set the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120°F (49°C), or use the “low-medium setting.” A child can be scalded in 5 seconds in water if the temperature is 140°F (60°C). If you’re unable to control the water temperature (if you live in an apartment, for example), install an anti-scald device, which is fairly inexpensive and can be installed you or by a plumber.
  • Always test bath water with your elbow before putting your child in it.
  • Always turn the cold water on first and turn it off last when running water in the bathtub or sink.
  • Turn kids away from the faucet or fixtures so they’re less likely to play with them and turn on the hot water.

Preventing Burns (continued)

Kitchen/Dining Room

  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove every time you cook.
  • Block access to the stove as much as possible.
  • Never let a child use a walker in the kitchen (and health experts strongly discourage using walkers at all).
  • Avoid using tablecloths or large placemats. Youngsters can pull on them and overturn a hot drink or plate of food.
  • Keep hot drinks and foods out of reach of children.
  • Never drink hot beverages or soup with a child sitting on your lap or carry hot liquids or dishes around kids. If you have to walk with hot liquid in the kitchen (like a pot of soup or cup of coffee), make sure you know where kids are so you don’t trip over them.
  • Never hold a baby or small child while cooking.
  • Never warm baby bottles in the microwave oven. The liquid may heat unevenly, resulting in pockets of breast milk or formula that can scald a baby’s mouth.
  • Screen fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. Radiators and electric baseboard heaters may need to be screened as well.
  • Teach kids never to put anything into the fireplace when it is lit. Also make sure they know the glass doors to the fireplace can be very hot and cause a burn.

Outside/In the Car

  • Use playground equipment with caution. If it’s very hot outside, use the equipment only in the morning, when it’s had a chance to cool down during the night.
  • Remove your child’s safety seat or stroller from the hot sun when not in use because kids can get burns from hot vinyl and metal. If you must leave your car seat or stroller in the sun, cover it with a blanket or towel.
  • Before leaving your parked car on a hot day, hide the seatbelts’ metal latch plates in the seats to prevent the sun from hitting them directly.
  • Don’t forget to apply sunscreen when going outside. Use a product with the SPF of 15 or higher. Apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going out and reapply every 2 hours or more often if in water.
  • Try to keep infants under 6 months of age out of the sun.