Exploring and playing is an essential part of childhood. But that can also mean getting hurt. Kids are not always the most graceful of creatures. They trip and fall. Overestimate their abilities to jump or climb. And go places and touch objects that they shouldn’t, despite all warnings.
This means that sometimes they get a boo boo. And you might even see blood sooner or later. Learn to recognize different types of cuts and scrapes and know which you can treat yourself. And which are serious enough to require professional care.
First Aid Training For Child Care Providers
Regardless if you are a licensed home daycare or not. You should attend childcare first aid training. Childcare first aid courses are usually 1 or 2 days and covers a variety of specialized topics, such as baby first aid. There is also many online first aid courses as well. Check out our Resource Page for more information where to take a childcare first aid course.
This article will provide basic information on how to treat cuts and scrapes, and the equipment you will need to do so. Plus a printable Boo Boo Report to print off and inform parents of the incident.
Be Prepared with a First Aid Kit
Before going into the details of treatment, let’s talk about first aid kits. You should have a well-stocked one at your home daycare. You can buy ready-made kits or put one together yourself in an inexpensive carrier like a makeup case or toolbox. All items can be found at your local pharmacy or dollar store. You should also have a portable first aid kit to keep in your car, diaper bag, or stroller when you are out and about.
Both kits should include the following items for treating cuts and scrapes:
As you review this list, don’t panic! Most situations won’t require you to use many of these items. But it’s best to be ready should a larger emergency occur. Be sure to check your first aid kits periodically for expired or missing items and restock as needed.
Scrapes are abrasions to the skin, also sometimes called brush burns. They happen when tender skin rubs or drags on a surface like cement, scraping off the top layers of the skin. They are not deep injuries, but they can be painful and can become infected if not treated. Scrapes should not require outside medical treatment. Unless they cover a significant portion of the body.
Begin by cleaning your hands with hand sanitizer and putting on gloves
Examine the injury. There may or may not be blood. Bleeding will be slow, more like seeping than flowing blood. If the wound is only to the uppermost layers of skin, there may not be any blood, just clear fluid coming from the wound.
Clean the scrape with the antiseptic wipe, removing as much dirt and debris as possible.
Squeeze some antiseptic ointment onto the wound, then apply a bandage to cover it completely. In many cases a regular adhesive bandage (Band-Aid) will be plenty, but you may need to use gauze bandages and cloth tape to cover a larger scrape.
In most cases the process of treatment will be distracting enough to calm the child, but if they are still experiencing pain, you can give them the instant cold compress to hold on the wound.
If you have not been able to remove all debris from the injury with the supplies from the kit, remove the bandage once you get home and clean it again with soap and water before rebandaging.
Cuts can range from tiny nicks to deep gashes. There are many blood vessels close to the skin, especially on the scalp, and even small injuries can sometimes bleed profusely, so don’t panic. Quickly clean your hands with hand sanitizer and put on gloves before touching the wound.
You first want to get the bleeding under control
You first want to get the bleeding under control. Use an absorbent compress to cover the injury (a gauze pad will be enough for small cuts) and apply pressure with your hand or hands. Wait several moments before letting up on the pressure to check if the bleeding has slowed or stopped. In most cases this will be sufficient – blood clots on its own, it just needs something to slow the flow and grab onto, which is where the pressure and compress come in.
Once the bleeding is controlled
Once the bleeding is controlled, use an antiseptic wipe to clean away the blood so you can assess the size of the wound. If it is very large or deep, still bleeding a lot. Or if the child is showing signs of further injury like shock, dizziness, or faintness, call 911 for additional help.
If the bleeding has slowed or stopped completely
If the bleeding has slowed or stopped completely, cover the cut with an adhesive bandage. Don’t use antiseptic ointment on an open wound. A larger wound may require a gauze bandage and cloth tape to cover it completely.
If you get the bleeding under control but it hasn't stopped
If you get the bleeding under control but it hasn’t stopped completely within 20-30 minutes, or if the edges of the cut are wide and not coming back together, take the child to an urgent care center or emergency room. They may need stitches or other additional treatment to ensure proper healing.
Remember that kids fall down and otherwise injure themselves often and it is a normal part of life. The most important thing is to stay calm to help the child calm down. Remind yourself that you know what to do – then do it. Most cuts and scrapes are easy enough to treat with a few supplies – and maybe a popsicle or lollipop!