So after a very interesting evening, this is a post on how to effectively deal with child related injuries at home.
Only Murphy knows why kid accidents happen after six on weeknight. With all three my children it has been the case. These accidents seem to also just come out of nowhere, and hit you when you least expect it. It’s not like the ones you see coming, where you have brief moments of time to mentally prepare yourself for what will follow. Not everybody may agree that this is true, but for me it is. When I am with my kids and in their presence in certain situations like at the park I have an action plan in my head of what to do should one of them perhaps fall off the jungle gym. When I am at home in my comfort zone I don’t have a very good plan.
These accidents at home I am talking, about are the kind that happen when it’s 7:30 pm, and because you have sent your couch in to be re-upholstered,and you have a mattress down on the floor in the lounge, your 2-year-old son can’t resist a quick bounce while you step into the kitchen, and he knocks his chin open on the low-lying windowsill. A trip to the ER and a thousand or two later and he has 2 small stitches and a whole lot of trauma related to it. It’s the kind that happen when your 8-year-old daughter goes for a quick random ride up the cul-de-sac with her bike without telling you, just as it starts getting darker by the minute, and by the time you have realized she is not in the house 5 minutes later she comes stumbling into the front door winded and blue in the face with blood and grazing all over. (Thank goodness for helmets) A mangled foot and some x-rays later and she is alright but it could have been so much worse. Turns out her bike hit a stone that she couldn’t see and she flew over the handlebars and landed face first into the pavement while knocking her breath clean out and getting her foot caught in the bike wheel as it turned. She went into a kind of shock and spasm just after it that had me worried there was spinal injury involved. I can’t tell you the range of emotions that went through me then. My shattered nerves! My dear son has also basically knocked his 3 top from teeth clean out his mouth too. Oh fun!
So last night we had a repeat chin injury incident. It was about 6:30 and I had gotten home late after grocery shopping and was about to start making some home-made pizza for us all. The house was peace-full and the kids soon started helping with the food prep for their pizza. Once they had done that and their pizza was in the oven I sent them off to play so the Dad and I could have a glass of wine and a chat while I prepared our pizza. The kids have taken to kicking an inflatable beach ball around on a small landing between out living area and bedrooms. It’s a tiled area and a fair enough size for a game with a soft ball. I can’t see them at all from the kitchen but I hear the whole game and the ball being whacked around. This particular game was a really peaceful one. They can usually get a lot more feisty and there are often knocks and squeals of either delight or pain from any one party but usually the games are quite mild and nothing to really think could warrant blood.
While rolling out the dough for our pizza I heard a thud followed by my three-year old letting out a cry, it didn’t sound like the type of cry that came from major injury, it was muted which made me think though that she had fallen and lost her breath so I dropped the food and ran to see what happened. There my 9-year-old had her with her arms in the air trying to get her to take a breath. I picked her up and got her to take a gasp and get the next cry out. I got her calmed down and didn’t immediately see all the blood pouring from under her chin. When I did see it I was confused as to where it was coming from because I didn’t see any cuts on her head. I looked and saw the blood had seeped into her polar neck and realized it came from under her chin. I hadn’t immediately thought it would be anything more than a graze but I was wrong. When I lifted her chin it was a downright huge gaping wound and I froze.
For the purpose of this post and keeping things equal for all readers I have decided not post a picture of the open wound into this post. If however you would like to see the real deal and know what it looked like then please feel free to check it out here
Now please bear in mind that I am trained in first aid and up to date on that. I know what the general procedure is that needs to be applied in this type of situation. I know the common place thing to do is to put pressure on the would, calm the patient down and then asses the situation further but wouldn’t you have it that I am the type of person that although I know in my head what the steps are I go completely paralyzed at that particular point. I know I need to put pressure so I grab the nearest thing, a towel and hold it there until I can look. My head is telling me, you need to clean it, you need to clean the area but I freeze and can’t think what I need to do next. So now I hear you are asking where my husband is in all of this? He I am afraid, does not cope at all well when one of his children bleeds. I become quite calm, I talk in a very calm rational manner, I become almost animated in my actions and basically do keep the situation all together, but I am sure things could get done far faster if my poor husband wasn’t lying down on the couch as white as a sheet almost fainting when I ask him to look at it. My two other kids, bless their souls are trying to help, but because they really don’t know what they should be doing, are just trying to comfort their sister and getting a little bit in the way. Again I say I have no real plan.
Once I had gotten to the point that I could look at the wound properly I realized this was something that couldn’t just be fixed with a regular plaster like the green one my son had brought me a few minutes before. It was the stitches required kind. Now having done this before, I knew what a totally traumatizing experience it was for my son and I really did not want to put my little daughter through that too. My Son had a previous incident in a toy store where he tripped at around 18 months and fell with his side against a metal shelf that was broken a bit and it pierced his skin. That was the very first injury, and we ran out the store and went straight to the nearest doctors office expecting stitches, it was a deep wound but the doctor said that Steri-Strips work amazingly well and he would rather use those. This was so much more pleasant than the second injury which was the chin in the ER that got stitches. That wound wasn’t nearly the same as the one my daughter got last night, so I am sure it really would have been fine for Steri-Strips too but that is neither here nor there.
So when I had finally gathered myself together I put my daughter in the car leaving my green around the gills husband to watch the other two. I was making my way to the ER when I thought that I would stop at the pharmacy first. You have to understand that by that stage the bleeding had stopped, and she was back to normal except still holding a wad of tissue paper at her chin. She was chatty and jokey and her usual self. Did I really want to go freak her out further and put her through stitches? I had just missed the on duty clinic sister so I asked the pharmacist what he thought. He looked at the cut and said it was a very clean laceration and agreed that Steri-Strips would be worth trying. I usually have these at home but had cut myself just recently with a knife and used the last one so had to get more. I got some strips, gauze and a big waterproof plaster to use over the strips. We went home and I proceeded to clean the wound with a little bit of wound disinfectant he had given me. When I looked closer I saw that when I had put the skin back into place it was a perfect fit and lined up without any trouble. I applied the strips and plaster and gave her some Ibumol as I was sure it was feeling very tender by now.
She then proceeded to eat her Pizza and went off to bed with her bottle and dummy and had a good nights rest. I checked this morning and there didn’t seem to look like anything had swollen so for that I was very glad.
In the interim I have been doubting myself and my actions over and over again of course, what Mother doesn’t? I since have been guided to using a type of glue called Benzoin as well as a clear Tegaderm or Op plaster so that I can monitor for infection. I will be doing that tonight.
So yes, I know I am not a qualified medical professional, but, my own instinct has told me that the trauma of the ER and stitches would have been the wrong choice in this situation. I trust my instinct not to let me down and also trust that the wonderful technologies of things like Steri-Strips and Tegaderm will come to the rescue here. I will be monitoring her very closely for any sign of infection and wont hesitate to get another opinion should it look like this is not going to work. Also bear in mind the location of the cut, it is under her chin so from a scar point of view it is hardly visible and so things like plastic surgery if ever needed she could consider at a later stage herself when she is older.
Please don’t take this post as any form of medical advice or me telling you how you need to rather deal with a similar situation. If the wound was any deeper and bleeding profusely I wouldn’t have hesitated to take her straight to the ER and you should neither.
So here are just a few thoughts from me regarding taking care of minor as well as a few larger injuries at home.
1. Please go for a first aid course, even better if you have someone looking after your kids during the day you should both go.
2. Have an action plan in case of emergencies at home. Even better, put it to paper so that everybody knows what they need to do. Have a friend you can call on also should you need help with your children during this time.
3. Have a fully equipped first aid kit available to use. I was naughty, I hadn’t refilled mine or I would have cleaned and fixed her wound immediately. I also firmly believe in having a very good disinfectant, I use the GNLD Care or Hydrogen Peroxide on had to clean open wounds. The pharmacist gave me Sodium Chloride too so it might be worth keeping a few of those handy for ease of use too.
4. Many people don’t realize that a lot of basic first aid can be done at home so I thought I would tell you about Safe Kids Cape Town that is a company that specializes in First Aid Training as well as fully equipped first aid kits.
5. Keep calm and remain focused. This is the biggest I think. Take charge of the situation and be the voice of reason and stability. Your child, partner and other kids need it.
I really hope our experience has helped you to see the necessity of not only equipping yourself in the case of a child injury at home but also to know that if needs be, sometimes they don’t need to involve the emergency room. Have you had a similar experience with your child? What did you end up doing? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please remember to share this post with other’s that may find it helpful.
P.S please remember that this is my own experience and this is my own child. I think should you be faced with any home emergency it is best to follow your gut instinct and if that means the ER without a doubt then you should do that.