Home Safety: Operating a Fire Extinguisher 家居安全:操作滅火器
October 17, 2017

Holding Hands


Child and Infant Safety

Children are curious by nature, often adventuring out to explore the world around them. Unfortunately, their curious nature can often lead to trouble, resulting in injuries. According to the Government of Canada, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in children. Learning how to recognize, prevent, and respond in the event of an accident or emergency can make all the difference. Read on for information on how to administer first aid in critical child and baby safety situations, such as cardiac arrest, concussions, dehydration, and choking.

Child and Infant CPR

You suddenly hear the panic-stricken scream “HELP!”
You rush next door to find your neighbour her standing at the edge of the pool with her 13 year old unconscious in her arms. The child is wet; his skin is blue.

Would you know what to do?
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR for short, is an emergency procedure that combines rescue breaths (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) and chest compressions.
CPR is a vital procedure in the event of cardiac arrest, which is when there is a lack of oxygen to the heart. Cardiac arrest can occur from choking, drowning, suffocation, electrocution, and even life-threatening allergic reactions and poisoning. CPR can increase a child’s chance of survival by helping to keep the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain, heart, and other vital organs until medical help arrives.

5 simple steps to CPR:
  1. Place the child or infant on a firm, flat surface.
  2. Position your hands or fingers on the child’s chest and give 30 compressions; push hard – push fast.
  3. Tilt the head back to open the airway
  4. Seal the nose and mouth and give two breaths - using just enough air to make the chest rise
  5. Continue the cycle of 30 compressions and 2 breaths until help arrives, the person responds, or you physically cannot continue any longer

Depending on the child’s age, the location and method of compressions differs:

  • For infants 0-12 months of age, use two fingers on the breastbone just below the nipple line to give compressions.
  • Children between 1-8 years of age may receive chest compressions with one or two hands, depending on the size of the child.

Fast Fact: Defibrillation with an AED improves chances of survival by up to 30% if delivered in the first few minutes. With each passing minute before the application of an AED, the probability of survival declines by 7-10%.
While you can get a basic understanding of CPR by reading about it, it’s strongly recommended that you take a course so that you learn how to administer CPR properly. St. John Ambulance has a series of child care first aid and CPR courses to accommodate different training needs - both formal and informal.

Concussions in Children

Did you know that falls are the leading cause of injury hospitalization in BC for infants and children between 1 to 9 years of age?
Falls can result in traumatic brain injury and brain damage, and can happen anywhere – whether inside or outside of the home, such as while cycling or climbing on the playground.

What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a common form of head or brain injury caused by a direct or indirect force or hit to the head. Direct force may come about from a jolt or bump to the head during a sporting activity or a car crash. Indirect force can result from an impact to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly backwards and forwards. The brain consequently bounces around and shifts inside the skull, causing damage to brain cells as well as to the brain’s chemical composition. This ultimately affects the brain’s ability to function normally for a temporary period of time, also making the brain highly susceptible to subsequent injury.

Concussion Symptoms

Did you know that a concussion typically comes with no visible signs of injury to the brain’s structure and the brain can even appear “normal” on CT scans and MRIs?
Concussion symptoms and signs in children can differ between individuals, and there may even be a delay of hours or days before any concussion symptoms even appear.

  • Make sure that you check for the following signs or symptoms of concussion both immediately following the injury and over the course of a few days afterward.
Concussion Symptoms
Concussion Signs Observed

Nausea or vomiting

Changes in mood, behavior and/or personality

Dizziness, or blurred or double vision

Loss of consciousness

Headaches or “pressure” in head

Slow to respond to questions

Memory or concentration problems, or confusion

Inability or troubles recalling events prior to or after a fall or hit

Feeling groggy, sluggish or hazy

Appearing stunned or dazed

Bothered by noise or light

Forgetfulness or exhibiting confusion

Not “feeling right”

Clumsy movements

If you see the above signs and symptoms, ensure the child or infant is seen by a physician.
However, if you notice any of the following, seek medical help immediately, or call 911.

  • A headache that worsens and does not go away.
  • Drowsiness or inability to wake up.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Weakness or numbness.
  • One pupil is larger than the other.
  • Repeated nausea or vomiting, or seizures or convulsions (twitching or shaking).
  • Loss of consciousness, even briefly.
  • Unusual behavior, or increased restlessness, confusion or agitation.
  • The infant or child will not stop crying and cannot be consoled.
  • The infant or child will not nurse or eat.
Concussion Recovery

Recovery requires time and it’s important that a child rests. Below are a few guidelines to keep in mind for a child’s safe recovery:

  • Limit any physical or mentally taxing activities. This includes sports as well as activities that require a lot of concentration, such as being on the computer, playing video games, or studying.
  • Wait for your medical provider’s green light. Children should avoid high-speed and high-risk activities that could result in another jolt to the head, and it’s critical that you receive the official go-ahead before your child returns to their normal routine.

Did you know that suffocation and choking are the fourth leading cause of injury hospitalization in BC for babies under the age of 12 months?
Choking occurs when objects get stuck in the throat or windpipe, preventing the flow of air. The universal sign for choking is hands clutched to the throat. Other indications of choking include:

  • Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing
  • Inability to talk
  • Inability to cough forcefully
  • Nails, lips and skin turning blue
  • Loss of consciousness

Thankfully, infant choking is largely preventable! Just keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure you have a solid understanding of choking hazards. Babies and young children are especially vulnerable to choking because their airways are small and are easily obstructed. Infants that are still learning how to chew and swallow solid food can choke because they can have trouble dislodging an obstructed airway. Small items and toys can also cause choking as babies and infants have a tendency to putting these objects in their mouths.
  • Make sure you’re able to recognize the signs of choking.
  • Learn first aid and CPR. Whether you’re a parent, guardian, teacher, caregiver, or babysitter, getting trained in first aid and CPR is the best way to prevent child injury. The procedure for clearing the airway of a choking infant differs from the adult procedure, particularly when the infant is less than 12 months old. Because choking cuts off oxygen to the brain, a quick response to administer proper first aid is key to preventing serious brain injury or damage.

Dehydration occurs when you lose or use more fluid than you take into your body. It’s normal for a baby to lose some body water and fluids whether through crying, sweating, diaper changes, and even evaporation through their skin and breath. Of course, these fluids are usually replaced through proper diet and hydration.
Did you know that your body is unable to carry out its normal functions without enough water and fluids?

  • Stay aware of any signs of thirst. By the time a child feels thirsty or a baby shows signs cof thirst, s/he or she may already be well dehydrated. In some cases, children and infants lose large amounts of water and essential minerals as a result of fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, or sickness – conditions that can prevent them from drinking fluids.
  • Make sure kids are consuming more fluids than they are using or losing. Kids playing outside in hot weather, particularly if playing sports, should amp up their fluid intake - and in some cases should drink fluids with electrolytes – both before and at regular intervals during the activity.
First Aid for Kids

St. John Ambulance offers three child and infant-focused safety courses designed for a variety of ages and experiences, from youths aged 11 years and older, grandparents caring for infants in an informal capacity, to people in licensed childcare facilities. Through these courses, you can learn common causes of injury, first aid for kids as well as infant-specific CPR – to help keep kids safe.

  • Save That Child
  • Babysitting Basics
  • Emergency First Aid Community Care

For more information, please visit: www.sja.ca

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