Toddler First Aid

By Nancy Gottesman

Ahh, the thrills and spills of toddlerhood. Toddlers are curious and, hence, with every new play date, art project or outdoor discovery, there’s potential for a bump here and an owie there. As a parent, you’ll likely need to call upon your knowledge of first aid—however sketchy—on more than one occasion.

To help you be ready for the unexpected, we’ve talked to some of the best pediatric emergency medicine experts in the country to get their first-aid tips for treating everything from scrapes and puncture wounds to nosebleeds and burns. We’ve also noted when you should contact your doctor.

Our experts say that unless it’s a 911 emergency, you should call your pediatrician fi rst. Even if you do need to go to an ER or urgent care facility, your doctor can call ahead and try to expedite your admission.

Two things to remember:

1) TLC should be first in line when it comes to fi rst aid. “A few minutes of comforting goes a long way—even for a paper cut,” says Richard A. Saladino, M.D., chief of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

2) Children are very sensitive to their parents’ emotions, so tempering your own reaction will also benefi t your child. If you’re upset, your son or daughter will likely be more so. “There’s no doubt that anxiety can be transmitted from parent to child,” Saladino says.

Remaining calm is difficult when your child is hurt, but consider this: Reassuring talk from you will soothe your child, which is vital to your treatment and examination efforts. The more relaxed you both are, the more easily you can begin to assess and treat the wound. That said, here is our step-by-step guide to first-aid care for your toddler: