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Parents: Your Quick Guide to Childhood Emergencies

We share the 5 most common injuries — and what to do if they occur

Let’s face it:No matter how many precautions you take, kids are accident-prone. But not every accident deserves a mom and dad meltdown. Here’s the 5 most common childhood emergencies — and how to stay calm if they happen.

1. Burns

Whether from scalding water or the sun, if your child has a burn, run the injured area under cold water.

Tip: Cover the burn with a clean cloth to help reduce any risk of infection and be sure to clean the area thoroughly before applying any kind of ointment. If the burn is minor, a trip to your primary care doctor is the best option. If the burn is more severe, head to your local emergency room. Click here to learn when you should go to urgent care and when the emergency room is needed.

2. Fractures, Sprains or Broken Bones

Wondering why so many kids have broken arms? Sure, they play hard, but children break bones more easily because of the soft growth plates near the end of each bone. If you notice bruising or swelling around a bone after a fall, this could be a sign of a fracture. If you have trouble moving your child, call an ambulance. Otherwise, you can take him or her to the hospital on your own.

Tip: Keep your child calm by reassuring them and if necessary, provide over-the-counter pain medication. Be sure to inform the doctors that you administered medicine.

3. Cuts or Scratches

We’re always surprised by how sharp our babies’ nails are, and sometimes they can do some damage. This is a very common occurrence and many of these will heal quickly without treatment.

Tip: For minor cuts, stem the bleeding with a clean cloth and cover it to prevent any infection. If the cut is more severe, stitches may be necessary. Take your little one to the emergency room if the cut is deep, especially if there is excessive bleeding.

4. Poisoning

Children can be unintentionally poisoned from consuming hygiene products, vitamins, medicine, cleaning products and more. If you think your child has swallowed something that could be dangerous, find the packaging and call 911 immediately. Let the person on the phone know what your child has ingested and wait for paramedics to arrive. Provide them with as much information as you can.

Tip: If he/she has taken a pill of some kind, do not give your child water or try to make him throw up. If he swallowed something acidic, give him water or milk.

5. Items Stuck in the Ears or Nose

We’ve all seen kids fit the weirdest things into their ears and nose, whether a pea or a crayon. If the object is clearly visible and close to the surface, you can use tweezers to remove it. If it is farther back or you are having trouble getting your child to sit still, visit the doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will be able to see the issue easier and can use special instruments to remove it.

Tip: Some items can become more difficult to remove or cause serious damage if not addressed right away, so it is important to visit the doctor immediately.

Need help now? Find the emergency department nearest you.