Common Kids’ Injuries, How To Treat Them at Home

Kids get hurt playing all the time. Fortunately, many of the bruises, bumps, and cuts they suffer can be treated at home. Almost 90 percent of injuries that happen to children do not require medical attention, according to the Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health.

Injuries and How To Treat Them at Home

The first aid tips listed below can help parents treat the most common injuries kids’ experience. Whenever there’s doubt about the severity of an injury, it’s always best to get medical attention.

Bites and Stings

Animal

  • Scrub the wound thoroughly for five minutes with soap and warm water.
  • Dry it, and then cover it with a clean bandage.
  • If the bite goes deeper than the outer layer of the skin, or if it’s from a wild animal, get medical attention.

Insect

  • Wrap ice in a towel and apply it to the wound.
  • A paste made from baking soda or meat tenderizer and water may be applied to the wound to decrease the stinging sensation.
  • Scrape the stinger out of the wounded area – don’t pull it.
  • If the sting causes a reaction, like difficulty breathing, get medical attention.

Burns and Scalds

  • Minor injuries without blisters (redness only) should be cooled under cold running water for 15 minutes. Afterwards apply an antibiotic ointment.
  • Burn sprays may be used.
  • Blistering burns that cover large areas of the skin should be seen by a medical professional. Until you get help, keep ice wrapped in a towel on the burn/scald.

Bruises

  • Apply ice or a cold pack for 20 minutes at a time for the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury.
  • Bruises that are unusually large, extremely painful, or those that develop for unknown reasons should be seen by a medical professional.

Cuts

Small

  • Scrub the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Apply a clean bandage.

Large

  • Apply continuous pressure to the wound for five minutes to stop the bleeding.
  • If the bleeding will not stop, get medical attention.
  • Do not use a tourniquet (constricting or compressing device) to apply pressure.
  • Do not use iodine or antiseptics unless you are instructed to by a medical professional.
  • If the wound is gaping or separates easily, stitches might be necessary.
  • Open wounds may require a tetanus shot. Talk to a medical professional.

Head Injuries

  • Sleep is allowed, but they should be woken every hour for the first four hours after the injury to make sure they’re alert.
  • Watch for signs that include continued unconsciousness, repeated vomiting, evidence of blood or fluid draining from the ears, headache or dizziness, inability to move limbs, and unequal pupils. These symptoms require immediate medical attention.
  • If loss of consciousness follows a head injury, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Nosebleeds

  • Sit upright.
  • With a clean cloth or tissue, pinch the nose tightly closed for five to 10 minutes.
  • Refrain from blowing the nose, bending over, and lifting anything heavy for 24 hours.
  • Get medical attention if the bleeding lasts more than 15-30 minutes, they feel weak or faint, bleeding is rapid or blood loss is great, or bleeding begins by trickling down the back of the throat.

Puncture Wounds

  • Scrub the wound thoroughly for five minutes with soap and water and cover it with a dressing-like gauze.
  • Full protection against tetanus requires immunization every five to 10 years. Puncture wounds require current immunization and may be given within 48 hours of injury. Talk to a medical professional.

Scrapes

  • If bleeding, stop it by applying pressure with a clean cloth for up to 30 minutes. If it doesn’t stop or begins to spurt, continue to apply pressure and get medical help.
  • Clean the wound by rinsing it with water. Avoid soap because it may irritate the wound.
  • Apply an antibiotic cream or ointment.
  • Cover the wound when necessary to keep it clean and bacteria free. Change the dressing daily.

Slivers or Splinters

  • Remove the object with tweezers.
  • Clean the wound with soap and water.
  • Larger, deeper wounds may require medical attention since a tetanus shot may be needed.

Sprains

  • Apply a cold cloth or bandage to the sprained area for the first 24 hours or until the swelling stops.
  • Elevate the injured area to minimize any further swelling.
  • If a fracture is suspected, get medical attention.

Where To Go When You Need Medical Attention

There are a number of places you can go when medical attention is needed: their doctor’s office, walk-in clinic, urgent care, emergency department. What’s important to understand about each location is the type of care provided and how quickly you can get it. Insurance and price may be different too.

Here’s a handy guide from our blog that you might find helpful – it explains the main differences between various locations and when you should consider going to each. Click here to read it.

Meet the Author

Roberta R. Ashby, MD is a Pediatrician at Aurora Health Center in  Delavan, Wisconsin.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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