By Lynn Lee
One of the most enjoyable things for parents is watching their kids participate in sports. Win or lose, competition can help children learn about themselves and what they are capable of, and this can be a rewarding process for parents to watch.
While a lot of fun and excitement can come from sports, there is one thing all parents dread: injuries. Whether it’s a scraped knee, twisted ankle, bad bruise or something worse, parents always hold their breath when they see their child hit the ground.
Although parents can try to prevent injuries, many are inevitable and impossible to anticipate. The best thing to do when a child gets hurt is to make sure the injury is treated properly.
Check out this list of ways to treat common injuries seen in kids:
Sprains and Bruises
With all the running around kids do while playing sports, falling down is often unavoidable. Because of this, sprains and bruises are common injuries with kids. Luckily, most can be treated at home using the RICE approach:
• Rest – Make sure your child takes some time off to let the injury heal completely.
• Ice – Until the swelling goes down, apply ice to the injury for 10 to 20 minutes every few hours.
• Compression – Wearing an elastic compression during the first 24 to 36 hours can help reduce swelling.
• Elevation – Keep the injury above heart level for 2 to 3 hours a day. This may require sitting or lying down.
Children can also wear a protective brace while the injury heals to help ensure they don’t further injure themselves. Additionally, anti-inflammatories that contain ibuprofen like Advil or Motrin or medication with acetaminophen like Tylenol can be used to reduce pain or swelling.
Even if kids aren’t playing sports, they still always seem to find ways to end up with cuts and scrapes, so knowing how to treat these is essential.
• Clean the Cut – For small cuts or scrapes, rinsing with cold water will remove dirt and debris from the cut, and something stronger like hydrogen peroxide is unnecessary. If a cut is deep, or if a child is cut by a dirty object, using hydrogen peroxide can be beneficial.
• Stop the Bleeding – Small cuts usually stop bleeding on their own. If a cut is a little deeper, apply firm pressure to the area with a clean cloth or gauze. Don’t remove the pressure to check and see if the cut has stopped bleeding; this can cause it to start again.
• Cover the Cut – After the wound has been cleaned and the bleeding has stopped, the abrasion should be covered. Use a bandage or gauze and tape, depending on the size of the cut, to cover the area.
When to Get Help
Sprains and cuts seem to be part of life when you have kids. What most parents fear, though, is the thought of something more serious happening to their child. Sometimes, it is immediately clear whether or not a child needs medical attention. In situations where a cut is more than ¼ inch deep, is jagged or looks like it may need stiches, calling or seeing a doctor is the best thing to do. Another way to know when to seek medical attention is to gauge your child’s level of pain. If some time passes and the pain hasn’t subsided, an injury may be worse than it appears on the surface. If you aren’t sure whether or not your child needs medical attention, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and head to the doctor.
– This article was contributed by Miami Children’s Hospital, a leading children’s hospital that is renowned for excellence in pediatric medical care from birth to adolescence. With leading physicians in South Florida, Miami Children’s hospital offers expertise in orthopedic sports medicine to help patients recover from injuries.