when to go to the emergency room for summer injuries

The weather is getting super nice and even though we have to be physically distancing, kids can still play outside on their own or with other immediate family members they've been quarantining with. That means injuries to kids might be on the rise.

Across the country, people are understandably scared to come to the emergency room right now due to concerns about COVID-19. As an ER doctor, I definitely recommend that you avoid unnecessary exposure, but there are some circumstances where trying to treat your child at home may end up causing more harm than good.

Home first aid is recommended in most situations but not in all. Here are some common injuries that might require a trip to the emergency room:

1. Cuts or lacerations

Every parent's comfort level is different and many small lacerations can be easily managed at home. If the skin isn't separated, it may just be an abrasion you can clean at home.


However, if you observe that the skin is separated or gaping, see tissues hanging out of the cut or are unsure of the seriousness of the injury, it is best to get cuts and lacerations checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. There's no easy way for a doctor to know whether a cut needs sutures without seeing it in person.

Based on recommendations, lacerations are best closed within 12 hours of the injury to reduce the risk of infection. Some may be closed within 24 hours, depending on your doctor's evaluation. You would hate for your child to suffer a laceration at home and realize after two days that it's getting infected. Your best move is to have them seen earlier to avoid complications.

2. Bone injuries

Fractures in kids are frequently seen in nicer weather. Broken bones are very easy to notice in some kids, but some toddlers or teens with high pain tolerance might only gradually start limping or complaining of pain later on.

Obvious bone injuries need to be seen in the emergency room as soon as possible: Watch for severe pain, an inability to move the affected limb or any swelling or difference in appearance in the affected area. But if you observe small abnormalities in the bone or changes in how your child is walking, those should be checked out, too.

3. Burns

If your child sustains a burn or a severe sunburn and you aren't sure how bad it is, get it checked out. Blistering burns need to be cleaned out (debriding the top skin) and dressed to avoid infection. The longer a burn is left without evaluation and proper cleaning, the higher the risk of infection.

4. Head injury after a fall

All the outside tumbling may sometimes result in falls. If your child sustains a head injury in a fall, it's recommended that you call your regular physician to describe the head injury and how it happened. Most minor falls and head injuries need no intervention other than rest and pain control, but your doctor can help you decide if the impact is concerning enough that it should be evaluated by the doctor or in the emergency room.

If you observe that your child continues to complain or cry due to a headache (even after pain control and rest), is persistently vomiting or is acting differently, they need to be checked out in the ER as soon as possible.

5. Animal bites

Animal bites need proper skin care which may or may not include sutures, depending on the location and depth of the injury, and antibiotics to prevent infection caused by the bacteria from the mouth of the animal. Without this, a worsening infection is common.

Don't wait to get health care for common injuries, even during the pandemic

It can be tough to know what needs to get checked out or not, and especially with coronavirus cases flooding ERs, you may be on the fence about how to get care when you need it.

If you're ever in doubt about what to do about an injury or condition, check in with your physician as soon as possible (many offices now have telehealth capabilities, making this kind of early check-in easier than ever). They can help direct you on where best to go. And if that's the ER, don't delay care.

Most hospitals and urgent care clinics are working hard to sanitize and disinfect areas to make it safe for your child to be seen. Kids older than 2 years of age should wear masks when they come into any health care setting, including urgent care or the ER. Since so many people who have COVID-19 don't have symptoms, wearing masks reduces the chances of transmitting the virus or getting infected by the virus if any other sick child arrives at the same time. Most ERs will give families and children masks if they do not have one at check in.

When to call 911 right away

Injuries that warrant an immediate call to 911 include—but are not limited to—an unconscious child, ongoing seizures after a head injury, fall from a height with concern of neck pain, serious burn or a burn involving significant areas of the face, multiple bone injuries from a fall or trauma, any abdominal or chest wound and any laceration with severe bleeding that can't be stopped with firm, steady pressure.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

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

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