Drowning and Head Injury

 

Drowning

 

 

Children may accidentally drown in a swimming pool, tank, an open nullah, sewer, canal, river or sea. An unattended baby may drown in a bathtub or a bucket. Immediate first aid is of utmost importance to save the life of a child who has drowned.

 

The air passage should be cleared immediately with a finger or a handkerchief and mouth-to-mouth breathing started without delay. Do not waster precious time in trying to remove water or froth, which may be pouring out from his mouth. Do heart massage by compressing his chest along with mouth-to-mouth breathing if he is found to be pale and his pulse cannot felt at his wrist. Mouth-to-mouth breathing and heart massage must be continued till the child reaches the nearest hospital.

 

Electric Shock

 

 

You need to be prompt but careful in handling a if your child gets an electric shock. Switch off the current immediately. Separate the child at once from the electric current with the help of a dry wooden stick or rubber gloves. Do not try to pull or push him directly with your hands as this may give you a severe electric shock as well. After the child has been separated from the source of electric current, make an immediate check about the status of his breathing.

 

If he is not breathing, start mouth-to-mouth breathing immediately. If he is pale and you cannot feel his pulse at the wrist, immediately carry out a heart massage by compressing his chest along with mouth-to-mouth breathing. Rush him to the hospital for further management. The management of burns caused by electric current has been described in the section on Burns.

 

Fractures(Broken Bones)

 

 

A child with suspected fracture following an injury should be handled gently in the position in which you find him. You should initially steady and support the injured bone by placing one hand above and the other below the site of injury and then call for an ambulance. If the child has to be moved, it should be done very gently. If a leg is broken, tie his leg gently but firmly to the uninjured leg with some padding placed between the legs. In case of injury to the arm, it should be placed in a sling before moving him.

 

However, do not move the child if you suspect that his neck or spine may be injured. It is necessary that trained paramedical personnel only handle such a child. You should not give the injured child anything to eat or drink after the accident till a doctor has examined him. Administration of fluids or food to the child would delay correction of his fracture if it has to be done under anesthesia.

 

Head Injury

 

 

Children often get knocked about and hit on the head during play. Most of these injuries are of a minor nature and very soon these children resume their normal activities. Occasionally they may sustain scalp wounds with some bleeding which would need local cleaning, dressing and sometimes stitching.

 

You have to be careful if the child develops any of the following symptoms:

 

●      Unconsciousness or cloudiness of sensorium, even for a short period

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●      Dizziness

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●      Headaches which persist and tend to increase in severity

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●      Vomiting

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●      Drowsiness or irritability

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●      Leaking of blood or light yellowish fluid from the nose or ears

 

 

What to Do

 

 

Sometimes, a child with fairly severe internal injury has practically no significant symptoms in the beginning. But over the next few hours he may develop headache, drowsiness, irritability or vomiting. The delay in symptoms is usually due to an injured leaking blood vessel causing gradual accumulation of blood inside the child’s head or on account of slowly increasing swelling of the injured brain. If the process is allowed to continue unchecked the child may get worse. He may lapse into unconsciousness, suffer from serious brain damage and may even die. It is, therefore, important to closely watch the child for his level of alertness and of any of the above symptoms over the next 12-24 hours.

 

If the child has a discharge of blood or bloodstained fluid from the nose or ears after a head injury, it may mean that he has sustained a fracture of his skull bones at its base. This is a bad sign and the child must be taken quickly to the hospital for X-rays of his skull and for observation and proper management.