As a parent, your children’s pain has a profound effect on you. You need to know how to respond appropriately because your child depends on you to be able to do the right thing to help. Your reaction can make the experience more tolerable for your child or, conversely, turn it into an unnecessary ordeal. Here are some things to do when your child gets hurt.
1. Know Where to Go For Help
Any injury that seems to have the potential to threaten life or limb warrants a trip to the emergency room. If the injury doesn’t seem that serious but needs attention right away, it may be a better option to take your child to urgent care, if available. Don’t second-guess yourself, however; if there is any doubt that the injury is an emergency, head to the ER.
A trauma to the mouth usually requires the services of an emergency dentist. Your regular dentist’s office may have a recorded message providing the number for emergency dental services if you call after hours. Nevertheless, it may be a good idea to research availability beforehand in case you ever need it.
If your child has lingering pain following an injury, chiropractic care may be appropriate. However, your first response to your child’s injury should rarely, if ever, be to fill out chiropractic physical examination forms.
2. Learn Basic First Aid
You should be able to respond to the most minor accidents as well as the most severe injuries. This includes learning the appropriate first aid in case of burns, nosebleeds, broken bones, profuse bleeding, choking, or accidental poisoning. Organizations such as the Red Cross often offer classes on first aid and life-saving techniques, some geared especially for parents.
Knowing what to do won’t help much if you do not have the necessary tools. Keep a well-stocked first aid kit in your home and another in your car. You can buy first aid kits ready made, or you can put together your own.
3. Stay Calm
Most of the time, when your child gets hurt, panic is not warranted by the circumstances, and it is never beneficial to either you or your child. Staying calm allows you to help your child more effectively. Not only that, but when young children are still learning about the world, they look to their parents for guidance on how to react. If you are calm in the face of a minor bump, bruise, or scrape, your child will take his or her cues from you. If it is not causing your child significant pain and you do not react, chances are that your child will just shrug it off as well. On the other hand, if you react with fear or panic, chances are your child will do the same, and that could make providing the help that he or she needs much more difficult.
4. Respect Your Child’s Feelings
While you do not want to fly off the handle in response to your child’s injury, especially if it is minor, you also do not want to invalidate his or her feelings. If your child is crying, do not minimize his or her emotions by laughing in response to the injury. Do not make assumptions and tell your child “you’re okay,” or “that didn’t hurt.” Instead, ask your child “Are you okay?” If your child says it hurts, believe him or her and try to find out more information about how much it hurts and where. An injury that seems relatively minor may be more serious than it appears at first. You cannot feel it, but your child can. Your child is the authority on his or her own feelings, and you should take them seriously and trust your child.
Injuries are an inescapable part of life for both you and your child. If you are lucky, they will only be minor. Nevertheless, you need to know how to respond appropriately in the event that they are not.