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Baby first aid: How to treat injuries + when to call the doctor

7 common injuries in babies + exactly what to do for each

baby first aid
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Babies are so precious, and we always want to protect them and keep them safe. But minor "owies" can happen even when you're the most thoughtful, careful parent ever: babies can get bug bites and stings, babies can sometimes bonk into household items while crawling or cut themselves before you can intervene. That's why it's smart to have some baby first aid basics under your belt, so that you'll know what to do if and when the need arises.

As part of keeping our babies safe, it's important for all parents to know when to seek care with your child's pediatrician or an Emergency Department—and parents should learn infant CPR just in case.

Here are common injuries in babies and how to manage them:


Burns

Warm drinks and foods are comforting on cool days, but they should be handled with care around babies and infants—your stroller's cup holder is actually not a safe place for a cup of hot coffee, even with a lid (unless it's a secure traveler's cup with a leak-proof, screw-top lid). Keep babies out of the kitchen, especially when cooking. And when hot foods are outside the kitchen, remember to place them above the ground because babies who are mobile can easily reach them out of curiosity and sustain a burn.

If your child sustains a burn, the care they need depends on the severity and location of the burn. Immediately after a burn, take them to a safe place and cool the burn with cool or lukewarm water (please avoid ice). You should call your pediatrician to evaluate the burn and decide if home care is appropriate or evaluation in the emergency department is needed. Some burns may look mild, but burns involving the face, ears, hands, feet or groin and burns that cross the joint have to be evaluated for proper care.

Bleeding

Some parts of the human body have a lot of blood vessels and bleed easily even with minor injuries—anywhere in the mouth, for example. If your baby gets an injury that starts bleeding, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the sight of blood. The first step is to try to stay calm; then place a gauze or cloth over the wound and apply steady pressure for at least 5 minutes to help control bleeding. If bleeding persists for about 5-10 minutes after steady pressure, call your doctor for further recommendations.

Insect bites + bee stings

Insect bites and bee stings are common when babies and children are outside. If your child gets stung by a bee, stay calm and leave the area immediately, and if possible, go inside.

Most bee stings leave a stinger so remove this as soon as possible with a tissue or gauze (avoid tweezers, because squeezing the stinger may release venom). Wash the area with mild soap and water, and apply ice (be sure ice is wrapped in a cloth to protect the skin from cold burn).

Your child should be taken to the emergency room if they develop signs of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions) such as swelling of the face or lips, vomiting, difficulty breathing or wheezing.

Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds are common in children and can be scary for caregivers to witness. The good news is that most nosebleeds in children are minor and easily managed at home.

If your child gets a nosebleed, have them sit down and lean forward. If they are too young to sit alone, place them on your lap and lean them forward. Using your thumb and index finger, pinch the soft part of the nose, at the bottom of the nostrils, firmly and steadily for about 10-15 minutes. They can breathe through their mouth while you do this.

Call your pediatrician or go to the emergency room if bleeding persists for more than 15 minutes or your child is on blood thinners or medications that can cause bleeding.

Splinters

A splinter is a sharp piece of material that gets lodged underneath the skin. Sometimes it is noticed immediately and other times it's only noticed when it starts causing discomfort over time. A splinter can be removed at home if it is small and visible.

First, clean the area with soap and water. Then use a tweezer sterilized with rubbing alcohol to gently pull it out. Clean the area again and apply ointment, and observe over time for any signs of infection. If the splinter appears deep or you are unable to remove it, call your child's pediatrician for further recommendations.

Minor cuts + scrapes

A baby on the move can easily get injured if they fall, but minor cuts and scrapes can be managed at home. Wash with mild soap and water and apply some topical antibiotic ointment such as bacitracin (avoid neosporin because it can cause an allergic reaction). You can leave minor cuts and scrapes open to the air or cover with a bandage for 1-3 days.

Bites

No parent loves to hear their child got bit by another child, but children are active and bites can happen by accident while playing. The good news is that most bites in children are harmless and rarely cause skin breakdown. If your child sustains a bite from a sibling or another child, their need for medical intervention depends on if the skin is broken or not.

  • If the skin is not broken, clean with mild soap and water.
  • If the skin is broken and bleeding, allow for slight bleeding then control bleeding (as discussed above). Clean with mild soap and water. In most cases of bites from children, this is enough for wound care.
  • Antibiotics may be needed depending on the depth and location of the bite injury.
  • Confirm your child's tetanus immunization status.
  • Speak to your child's pediatrician if there is concern.

When to get care

When injuries happen, it's easy to be too overwhelmed to estimate what type of care a child needs. The first step is to stay calm and reassure your child. Start with first aid as recommended and call your child's pediatrician for recommendations.

Injuries that require immediate call to 911 include—but are not limited to:

  • a serious burn
  • burn to the face
  • injuries leading to an unconscious child
  • persistent uncontrollable bleeding
  • signs of anaphylaxis: swelling of the face or lips, vomiting, difficulty breathing or wheezing.


Keep the number of the poison control center (PCC) — 800-222-1222 — on your phone contacts as well, and use it if you suspect your baby has ingested something harmful.


American Academy of Pediatrics, HealthyChildren.org, First Aid Guide for Parents & Caregivers, January 2017

KidsHealth from Nemours, First Aid Guides.

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

Stylish storage cabinet

Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

White board calendar + bulletin board

With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

Bamboo storage drawers

The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

Laminated world map

I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.

Letterboard

From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

Expandable tablet stand

Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

Neutral pocket chart

Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

Totable fabric bins

My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

Work + Money

It's 2020, but for American mothers, it's still the 1950s

Once a woman in America becomes a mother, our society transports her back in time. In an instant, generations of sexist ideas and structures descend back upon her.

We like to think that women have come so far.

We have our educations. Today, our education system not only allows girls to thrive, but it has enabled the first generation in history—Millennials—in which women are more highly educated than men.

We have choice. Access to family planning has given American women life-changing control over their fertility and the decision to start a family.

We have basic respect. Today, our marriages are built on the principle that partners are equal regardless of gender.

We have careers. It's utterly common for a woman to return to work after having a child.

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We have acknowledgment. And our culture even declares that caregiving is essential work for both mothers and fathers.

We have possibilities. And all of the potential our lives as women hold now gives girls the hope that anything is possible.

But the truth is that American motherhood has the veneer of being modern, without any of the structures to support our actual lives today.

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