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Kids and Medication: What Parents Should Know to Avoid Errors

Let’s discuss medication use in children because many parents feel that an office visit to the Doctor for their child is not complete without a medication to use regardless of the cause for the visit.

First, many Doctors are getting away from using medications of all kinds for minor illnesses.  Antibiotics are not effective for the most common infections seen in Children, viruses. Typical “cold medicines are found to have side effects:  these  adverse effects include, but are not limited to irritability, loss of appetite,  poor sleep and  restlessness to name a few. Antibiotics are becoming even ineffective against certain bacteria because of over use and development of resistances to those antibiotics.  Those people who may contract an infection for which the choices of antibiotics have become limited potentially pose a problem for every one.

Next a few “rules of the road” when using any medication on children:

  1. Children are not to be considered “ just small adults” when given any medicines- the dosages are calculated differently, they react to medicines in a different way than adults, the illnesses to be treated are not necessarily the same in adults and children, side effects of these medications can appear different in adults and children.  Never look at your child and try to calculate any dosage based on a percentage of your own weight, or any side effects that you may have.
  2. Just because a child has an illness does not mean that “medicine” is necessary.  There are some who reach for the medicine cabinet as soon as their child sneezes or exhibits a runny nose, or cough.  Given what I explained above, this is certainly not necessary and in some cases may make things worse.  Same thing occurs with onset of fever and this has been discussed previously, not all fevers require medication to lower them.
  3. Learn some easy measurements:
  •      1 cc or 1 ml is 1/5 of a teaspoon which is 5ccs
  •      5ccs or one teaspoon is 1/3 of a tablespoon which is 15 cc
  •      30cc is approximately one ounce, and 8 ounces is a cup
  •      1000 cc’s equals one liter or a little more than a quart
  •     16 ounces = 1 pint and 32 ounces = 1 quart
  •      4 quarts = 1 gallon

It is good to know these equivalents but be sure you totally understand the instructions for a medicine before you leave the pharmacy, and be sure the pharmacist has supplied you with the correct measuring utensil.  These can come as accurate little measuring spoons or even syringes measured in cc’s. A kitchen teaspoon or tablespoon is not very accurate and is often not close enough for the required measurement. Ask the pharmacist about this before you leave the pharmacy and don’t use a kitchen teaspoon or tablespoon for your child’s medicine unless they say it will be ok.

  1. When giving your child medication according to a schedule, write the times and dosage down as a reminder and save any dosing instructions until they have completed the entire prescription. If they accidentally miss a dose, in “most cases” (unless these are cardiac meds or similar) it will likely not make a difference, however I recommend checking the dosing instructions just to make sure your doctor has not specified “not to skip a dose” in which case you should probably give the dose when you think of it. If in doubt contact your child’s doctor or the pharmacy.

Your child will be happier and safer if you remember these few things

Trampolines & Jump Centers: Fun but Risky, Parents Beware

By now I am pretty sure that all of us have either seen the ads for or been to one of the many trampoline centers popping up in a town near you.  Or you are one of the many homes in American that have a trampoline in the yard. While I personally have nothing against trampolines, being in the EMS field I am always aware of the dangers they pose and what kind of injuries they would present with.  While your own personal trampoline or the ones at the jumping center are a lot of fun there are some numbers I think you should have and recommendations you should be aware of before letting the kids bounce away.

The Statistics.

Nearly 100,000 people a year were sent to the ER with trampoline related injuries from 2010- 2014 and about a third of those were with broken bones and 92% of those were in children under 16.  Injuries of the head and spinal cord were also reported in that time and represent the smallest amount but the most severe.  In an American Academy of Pediatrics study they found that fractures were more common in younger children than adolescents and children under 6 years of age actually had the highest percentage of fractures with 47.8%. The study also revealed that while trampoline injures at home stayed around the same average per year, there is a growing and alarming number of injuries at trampoline parks with the national trend getting higher and higher.

The Recommendations.

The safety recommendations for trampolines are the same over a number of different studies.  The American Academy of Pediatrics went to far as to recommend against the recreational use of trampolines for children in 2012, But seeing as how people are jumping now more than ever, they have put together a list of things you can do to keep your children and yourself as safe as possible while jumping.  The recommendations are:

  • Adult supervision at ALL times.
  • Only 1 jumper on the trampoline at a time. Most injuries occur with multiple jumpers.
  • No Flipping. Safety rules may vary at trampoline centers. Please check the rules before jumping.
  • Adequate padding on the trampoline, all of its exposed parts. Frame, springs, poles.  As well as Padding on the floor around the trampoline.
  • Checking all equipment before jumping.
  • Having the trampoline at ground level if possible.
  • Having the trampoline clear of any overhead obstructions:  Trees, Lines, Poles, House.

What to do.

Should an injury occur on a trampoline what to do will depend on the severity of the injury, but as I always tell people, if the thought to call 911 crosses your mind, go ahead and do it.  Some injuries may be minor and require nothing more than some ice and elevation, but should the injury involve the head, neck, or spine, a loss of consciousness, or broken bones, then please let EMS handle it.  They are trained and prepared to deal with these types of injuries.

As, always I hope you have a fun and happy summer and above all be safe!

What You’ll Want to Have In Your Baby’s First Aid Kit

More than 1 million children a year are involved in an accident in the home. Most aren’t serious, but it’s sensible to make sure your first aid box contains the essentials.

Choose a waterproof, durable box that’s easy to carry. It’s much easier to take the box to the child than the child to the box. The box should have a childproof lock and be tall enough to carry bottles of lotion.

Keep the box out of the reach of children, but handy for adults. You don’t want to be hunting for your first aid kit when a child is injured and frightened.

Either buy a first aid box, which is green with a white cross**, or, if making up your own box, write “First Aid” on it so that, if you aren’t around, other people know what it is. If someone else is caring for your children, let them know where the kit is kept.

First aid manual

An easy-to-use guide can help refresh your memory when panic and a crying child make it hard to remember what to do. Or you could print out a first aid guide and keep it with your first aid box.

Painkillers and babies

Make sure you have an age-appropriate painkiller, such as paracetamol (*acetaminophen) or ibuprofen, which can be used for headaches and fevers. You will also need a measuring spoon or, for younger children, a no-needle dosing syringe. Always follow the dosage instructions on the label.

Dressings for babies

  • Sticking plasters (*Band-aids). Buy them in a variety of sizes for minor cuts, blisters and sore spots.
  • Adhesive tape (*Medical tape). This can hold dressings in place and can also be applied to smaller cuts.
  • Bandages. Crepe (*Wrap compression) bandages are useful for support or holding a dressing in place. Tubular bandages are helpful when a child has strained a joint and needs extra support. You can also buy triangular bandages that can be used for making a sling.
  • Sterile gauze dressings. These are good for covering larger sore areas and cuts.

Antiseptic cream or spray

Antiseptic cream or spray can be applied to cuts, grazes or minor burns after cleaning to help prevent infection. Some may also contain a mild local anaesthetic to numb the pain.

Antihistamine cream

This can reduce swelling and soothe insect bites and stings.

Thermometer

  • Digital thermometers. Digital thermometers are quick to use, accurate and can be used under the armpit (always use the thermometer under the armpit with children under five). Hold your child’s arm against his or her body and leave the thermometer in place for the time stated in the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Ear (or tympanic) thermometers. Ear thermometers are put in the child’s ear. They take the child’s temperature in one second and do not disturb the child, but they’re expensive. Ear thermometers may give low readings when not correctly placed in the ear, so read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and make sure you understand how the thermometer works.
  • Strip-type thermometers. Strip-type thermometers that you hold on your child’s forehead are not an accurate way of taking their temperature. They show the temperature of the skin, not the body.
  • Mercury-in-glass thermometers. Mercury-in-glass thermometers are no longer available to buy**. They can break, releasing small shards of glass and highly poisonous mercury. If your child is exposed to mercury, get medical advice immediately.

Calamine lotion

This can help to soothe itching irritated skin, rashes (including chickenpox) and sunburn. There are gels and mousses available for chickenpox rashes as well.

Baby first aid accessories

  • Pair of scissors for cutting clothes, and also plasters and tape to size.
  • Tweezers to remove thorns and splinters.
  • Ice packs or gel packs can be kept in the fridge and applied to bumps and bruises to relieve swelling. A packet of frozen peas is just as good, but wrap it in a clean tea towel before applying it to skin. Direct contact with ice can cause a “cold burn”.
  • Saline solution and an eye bath. This is useful for washing specks of dust or foreign bodies out of sore eyes.

Antiseptic wipes

Antiseptic wipes are a handy way to clean cuts and grazes and help prevent infection. To use them, take a fresh wipe and clean the wound, gently working away from the centre to remove dirt and germs.

Remember to keep your first aid box up to date. Replace items when stocks have been used and check use-by dates of all medicines. Throw away anything past its use-by date. You can take any out-of-date medicines to a pharmacy to be disposed of safely.

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US readers.

** U.S. First Aid Kits are often white with a red cross or red with a white cross

** Mercury-in-glass thermometers are not available for purchase in the U.K. and in a number of States within the U.S., however they may still be purchased legally in some States.  For more specific information about individual State’s mercury laws, click here.

 





Video: How to Protect Young Children from Poisoning

In this 2-minute video, Katrina Phillips of the Child Accident Prevention Trust talks about what you can do to protect your child from poisoning.

 

Editor’s Note: Video Highlights

  • Protecting young children from poisoningThe most common culprit for child poisoning is everyday painkillers
    • It’s important to put them somewhere where a small child can’t be tempted by the bright colors and where they can’t reach them
  • The other common cause of poisoning for young children is household cleaning products
  • Note that child safety caps on medicines and cleaning products can slow young children getting them open, but they’re not actually childproof
    • Some three and four year-olds can open those caps in seconds, so it’s important not to rely on child safety caps to keep young children safe from poisoning
  • There are other things around your home that you wouldn’t suspect could be poisonous to small children but are – including:
    • Perfume on your dressing table
    • Aromatherapy oils that you might have in your bathroom
    • Small amounts of alcohol, like the dregs left in the bottom of a glass
  • You need to think about what might be harmful to a small child and put it somewhere where they can’t see it and where they can’t reach it
  • Also, get your gas appliances serviced every year – and fit a carbon-monoxide alarm that will sound a warning if levels of the poisonous gas are too high in your home
  • Finally, if you think your child has swallowed something poisonous, it’s important to get immediate medical advice and help





Video: Dealing with Burns and Scalds in Young Children

In this short video, health visitor Melissa Green talks about the things you can do to deal with burns and scalds.

Editor’s Note: Video Highlights

  • Children’s skin is much thinner than adult skin, so it’s very important to treat their burns and scalds quickly for the best chance of healing
  • Most important is to run cold water over the burn for no more than 10 minutes
  • Water should be cold, but not ice-cold
  • The next step is to place something clean over your child’s burn to protect from risk of infection – like cling film or a clean linen tea towel
  • If your child has something stuck to their burn, don’t try to remove it – leave it there and go to the hospital for treatment
  • risk of burns and scaldsAlso don’t put anything on the burn, such as creams or lotions
  • If your child has a burn larger than a postage stamp, take them to get medical advice from the hospital
  • If your child complains of pain after their burn, you can give them something like paracetamol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen – don’t give them any aspirin
  • If the burn has a blister, don’t tamper with it – it should be left to burst naturally
  • Blisters that have burst may be raw and need a dressing – you may want to see your doctor or nurse for this





Camping Safety for the Whole Family

family-camping-safetyA camping holiday can be great fun for all the family. Putting up your own tent is one of the least expensive accommodation options for a holiday.

Kids love the freedom of staying in a tent: sleeping under the stars, eating simple meals and enjoying the great outdoors.

To ensure your holiday under canvas goes smoothly, especially if it’s your first time in a tent, make sure you’re aware of how to stay safe on your camping holiday.

Campsite Cooking and Fire Safety

Fire is a significant risk when you’re camping. Camp fires, barbecues, gas canisters and camping stoves all need to be handled with care.

“Cooking on a camping holiday is completely different from cooking in your own kitchen,” says Barry Norris, technical information officer for the Camping and Caravanning Club. “You are in a much more confined area than at home, especially when the weather is bad.”

Norris says that cooking is best done outside and advises campers to ensure that any gas equipment is securely supported when it’s being used and kept away from children.

To reduce the risks of fire when you’re camping, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) advises holidaymakers to take some precautions:

  • Assess the site before you pitch your tent. Ideally, be at your site before sunset so you can see what you’re doing and see where other campers have made fires or set up barbecues, stoves and heaters.
  • Check that tents are positioned well apart from each other to prevent the risk of a fire spreading. Check the specific rules at your campsite. Some recommend that tents are pitched at least six metres (*about 20 feet) apart.
  • Practise using your stove before you go on your trip.
  • Cooking inside a tent is not advisable because even a fire-resistant tent can burn. There is also the risk of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Check out the Camping and Caravanning Club’s tips on carbon monoxide safety.
  • Don’t change gas canisters or refuel petrol or meths-burning stoves inside a tent. Keep flammable liquids and gas cylinders outside the tent and away from children.
  • Keep matches and lighters locked away and, where possible, out of the reach of children.
  • Don’t use naked flames such as candles and lighters inside a tent. Use a torch instead.
  • Don’t use oil-burning appliances in or around tents.
  • Check the rules regarding open fires and barbecues at your campsite and make sure all fires, stoves, gas lamps and barbecues are out before you go to bed.
  • Make sure you know about the fire-fighting arrangements on the campsite and where the nearest source of water is.
  • Don’t smoke inside a tent.

If there is a fire in your tent:

  • Get everyone out without delay – fires in tents spread extremely quickly.
  • If your clothing catches fire, don’t run around as this will fan the flames and make them burn faster. Instead, lie on the ground as this makes it harder for the fire to spread. Smother the flames with heavy material (a coat or blanket for example) or roll around to smother the flames.
  • Call the fire and rescue service and give as exact a location as you can. If you have a mobile phone, it may be able to give GPS co-ordinates.

Pitching Your Tent Safely

According to RoSPA, common accidents around tents include people tripping over guy ropes or treading on tent pegs. Give tents a wide berth when you’re walking around a campsite, especially when it’s dark.

RoSPA’s advice to campers is:

  • If possible, choose a tent with guy ropes that are a bright colour or have fluorescent tags attached to them so people can see them in the dark.
  • Practise putting up your tent before you go away so you won’t be stressed when you arrive at the campsite.
  • Check that you’ve got all the equipment you need before you set off on your trip. That way, you won’t be tempted to improvise with other items that might not be suitable for the task.
  • Don’t pitch your tent right under a tree or on the banks of a river or lake.
  • Don’t obstruct walkways or tracks with your tent’s guy ropes.
  • Supervise children at all times. Be especially careful on the first and last days of your holiday because children can easily wander off while you’re busy pitching or taking down your tent.

Packing Tips for Camping Trips

Barry Norris, from the Camping and Caravanning Club, advises people to do the following:

  • Pack at least one torch (*flashlight).
  • Organise your first aid kit.
  • Buy sun cream. You spend a lot of time outdoors when you’re camping so you’ll need to protect your skin from sunburn. See how you can protect your skin in the sun.
  • British weather is unpredictable so pack clothes for wet weather, warm weather and cold weather.
  • The temperature drops at night so take a warm sleeping bag and enough bedding.

For more camping tips, especially for first-timers, see the Camping and Caravanning Club’s new to camping section.

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US readers.

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