How to treat a child with suspected broken bones
(A Guest Post)
Fearlessness is an enviable trait and it seems that most children have it in abundance. Constantly on the lookout for the next adventure, exploring the depths of their own backyard or experimenting just how fun the staircase, a cardboard box and a vivid imagination can be, is endearing to say the least. However, no matter how endearing, it doesn't protect them from the unknown dangers they may encounter on their quests.
Despite how plucky your child may be, taking on the world by themselves and avoiding injury may mean they are rather lucky to say the least. So after they've commandeered their very own pirate ship, built a cloud skimming fort and become the world’s bravest climber, how would you help your child when they’ve taken a fall from grace?
Facing a broken bone, even though stressful, is a situation that demands a calm facade. When your child is in pain, they look to adults to gauge the severity of the injury, so if you're panicked then chances are your child is ten times more so. An important thing to remember is to stay calm and with these useful tips it may be a lot easier to do so...
Back and neck: If the injury involves the back or neck, then it is imperative not to move your child unless in greater danger. By moving them, it may worsen the injury as the nerves can be damaged. It’s best to call for medical help (999/112) and wait for them to arrive, ensuring your child stays conscious in the mean time by chatting to them. If moving them would place them in less danger then ensure minimal independent movement of the neck and spine is possible, by moving the child as a whole unit.
Open Break: Remember that mantra of keeping calm; this will be needed when faced (quite literally) with an open break. You'll be in no doubt of a bones broken status here, as part of it will protrude from the skin and, in some cases, break through the skin. In an instance where it has actually broken through the skin, there'll probably be quite a lot of blood involved, try and apply as much pressure as possible here with some clean material or a gauze pad. By no means attempt to clean the wound or push the bone back in place, this could infect the injury. Once again call for medical help and try and keep your child engaged without moving them so they don’t lose consciousness.
Broken Limb: It’s common for a child to break an arm or a leg, if you suspect they have done so leave the limb in the position you find it and apply splints in that position. Ensure your child remains where they are as any movement may cause further injury. Splints can be made by using boards, brooms, a stack of newspapers, cardboard, or anything firm, and can be padded with pillows, shirts, towels, or anything soft. Splints must be long enough to extend beyond the joints above and below the fracture.
In all instances, an important thing to keep in mind is not to move your child unless they are in further direct danger. Ensure they are comfortable, while you call for medical help (999/112) and try and keep them conscious as this will prevent their body from going into shock.
For more information or if you are interested in undertaking a first aid course, contact the team at Imperative Training.