I bet you saw that coming.
It was not a dangerous cut, but it was that annoying sort of cut that’s almost parallel to the skin surface, meaning no edges to press together to help stem the bleeding. As I was applying pressure with a dishtowel, my oldest said, “I’ll get you a band-aid.” I replied, “Oh, I don’t think a band-aid will be enough for this.” He promptly announced, “I’ll call 911.“
It occurred to me that it just might be time to explore the range of options when a person is injured, and have a heart-to-heart talk (or more than one, perhaps) with the boys. Keeping a first aid kit on hand isn’t terribly useful if no one knows how to use it.
Let’s face it, with kids, there are accidents, bumps and scratches. If you believe the stereotypes, with boys, it happens more often. I do not have any daughters, but my boys manage to get into plenty of scrapes (literal and figurative). One of my favorite stories is about the day it got really quiet in the house. I do not know what the boys had gotten up to, but I eventually found all of them in the bathroom – one with a nosebleed, and the other two trying to hush it up and get him cleaned up.
No one ever wanted to talk about what happened. 🙄 Happily, though (really) they were taking responsibility, and taking appropriate action.
Kids (like adults) need to know when an injury is actually an injury. We talk about the difference between something hurting (like stubbing your toe) and harming (like burning yourself because you weren’t paying attention while cooking).
Some injuries require professional medical attention (like broken bones). Some may benefit from medical attention, but it isn’t necessary. (I cannot express the relief I felt when our family physician informed me that, while stitches may minimize scarring, when it comes to a basic laceration – unless the bleeding won’t stop – they aren’t needed.)
I’m not medical professional – and that’s precisely why I believe a basic knowledge of first aid is necessary. Not just so we can manage cuts, scrapes, and minor burns, but so that we (this goes for kids, too) know when first aid should serve only as “band-aid” until we can get to professional medical care.
So. Where do you start? Here’s a round up of some online resources:
The BritishRedCross has a fun website here where kids can explore different paths of first aid, staying safe, and when to take emergency action, called Life, Live it.
Slide Presentation from the UK Red Cross. This is really about first aid for kids, but it has good information, and older students might enjoy checking out both the information and the sources at the end.
KidsHealth First Aid Resources. A great place to look things up if your kids have specific questions.
Here’s a great video with Dr. Sears actually working with some children role playing first aid skills. I got a kick out of watching it, and while researching this post, one of my boys stopped by and he enjoyed the video, too. I think it’s always great to keep topics like this lighthearted. We can be serious without being scary. I don’t want my kids to be focused on avoiding the topic; I want them to feel empowered by skills and knowledge.