First Aid for Kids

This first aid for Kids is brought to you by the Call-A-Nurse for Children service (22-NURSE) sponsored by Methodist Children's Hospital of South Texas. 


The ABCD Pediatrics Nurse Line is open during regular business hours to provide instructions on a number of common children's healthcare issues.  For after hours help, contact Call-A-Nurse at 22-NURSE (226-8773).


Burns and Scalds
Eye Injuries
Fractures and Sprains
Head Injuries
Stings and Bites


Fever  Fever is typically the body's response to infection.  It is very important to remember that fever is not dangerous but tends to make parents anxious and children uncomfortable.  If you believe your child may have a fever, use a digital thermometer to take your child's temperature, by mouth, under the arm or rectally.  Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen is used to treat fever.  The goal is to make your child comfortable.  Aspirin should not be used for children who have fever since it has been associated with Reyes Syndrome, a serious illness that can result in death.  Do not use any leftover antibiotics prescribed for your child or any other person.  When your child has a fever, it is important to make sure that he is drinking plenty of fluids.  You can also give your child a lukewarm sponge bath.  Avoid using cold water, ice water or alcohol.  Dress your child in light cotton pajamas.  If your child is hot from sun exposure, get her to a cooler, shaded area to rest; give lots of fluids.  Small children and infants less than three months of age should be seen by us if they have a rectal temperature greater than 100 degrees F.  This could indicate a serious infection.


Nosebleeds   Have your child sit up, lean forward and spit out the blood.  Have a basin available so he can spit out any blood that drains into his throat.  Swallowed blood is irritating to the stomach.  Do not be surprised if it is vomited up.  Have your child blow her nose to free any clots.  Then lightly pinch the soft parts of the nose against the center all for 10 minutes.  Do not release the pressure until 10 minutes are up.  If the bleeding continues, you may not be pressing on the right spot.  During this time your child will have to breathe through her mouth.


Stings and Bites  For human or animal bites, clean the bite with generous amounts of soap and water.  Apply direct pressure for active bleeding.  Call us for further advice.  For snake bites, do NOT try to capture the live snake.  Contact your local Poison Center (1-800-222-1222) and take your child to the emergency room.  Do not apply a tourniquet or ice.  Immobilize the affected limb and try to keep it lower than the level of the heart.  For ticks, using tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and remove it from the skin, making sure to remove the head.  If a rash develops around the bite, or your child develops a fever, headache or joint pain/swelling, contact us.  If your child is stung by an insect or bitten by a spider, apply cool compresses to relieve the pain.  If a long stinger is visible, attempt to remove it.  Contact 911 if there are signs of allergy: trouble breathing, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat.  Contact us for spider bites that appear infected, ulcerated or are very painful.


Poisons  If your child is unconscious, becoming drowsy, having convulsions or having trouble breathing, call 911.  Any non-food substance is a potential poison if swallowed.  Call the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) immediately.  Do not induce vomiting except on professional advice.  If your child is exposed to fumes, gases or smoke, get him to fresh air.  Call 911 or the fire department.  If your child is not breathing, start CPR and continue until help arrives.  If your child's skin comes into contact with acids, lye, pesticides, chemicals or any potentially poisonous substances, gently brush off dry material.  Remove contaminated clothing.  Wear rubber gloves if possible.  Wash skin with large quantities of soap and water.  Call the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) for further advice.


Burns and Scalds  For minor burns without blisters, place the burned extremity into cold water or cover the burned part with a towel soaked in cold water until the pain stops (at least 15 minutes).  Do not use ice.  For burns with blisters, do NOT break the blisters.  Call us for advice on how to cover the burns.  ANY burn on the face, hands, feet or genitals and any large burn should be seen by us.  Call 911 for any large or deep burn.  Remove clothing.  Do NOT apply any medication.  Keep your child warm with a clean sheet and then a blanket until help arrives.  In the event of an electrical burn, disconnect the electrical power. Do NOT touch with bare hands.  Pull your child away from the power source with wood or a thick, dry cloth.  All electrical burns need to be seen by a doctor.


Fractures and Sprains  Do not move a child who may have a back or neck injury, because this may cause serious harm. If an injured part is painful, swollen, deformed, or if motion causes pain, suspect a fracture and splint it.  Splinting your injured child will greatly decrease the pain.  Apply a cold compress, elevate the injured part and call us.


Head Injuries  Do not move a child who may have a back or neck injury; this may cause harm.  Call 911 for any loss of consciousness or drowsiness, persistent headache or vomiting, clumsiness or inability to move any body part, oozing blood or watery fluid from ears or nose, convulsions (seizures), or abnormal speech or behavior.


Convulsions  Protect your child from injury.  Perform rescue breathing if your child is blue or not breathing.  If breathing, lay your child on his side.  Put nothing in the mouth.  Call 911.


Eye Injuries  If anything is splashed in the eye, flush gently with water for at least 15 minutes.  Call the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) for further advice.  Any injured or painful eye should be seen by a doctor.  Do NOT touch or rub an injured eye.  Do NOT apply medication.  Do NOT remove objects stuck into the eye.  Gently bandage the eye shut until you can get medical help.


Fainting  Lay your child on her back with her head to the side and her legs raised.  Do NOT give anything by mouth.  If the fainting was due to stress or fear, help your child talk about it.  Contact us if your child does not wake up right away, or call 911.


Teeth  If baby or primary teeth are knocked out or broken, apply a clean gauze to control the bleeding and call a dentist.  You can obtain a list of pediatric dentists from us.  If one of your child's permanent teeth are knocked out, find the tooth, and rinse it gently without touching the root.  Insert and gently hold the tooth in its socket or transport the tooth in cow's milk.  Go directly to the dentist; time is important.  If broken, save the pieces.  Gently clean the injured area with warm water.  Place a cold compress to reduce the swelling.  Go to the dentist immediately.

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