I cringe at the title of this post. I hope that no one reading this ever has to deal with this, but obviously most of us (if not all) do at some point. For many of us seeing our toddler bleed, it can be super-scary… especially if we’re not a trained medical professional. Lord knows I’ve dealt with accidents that happened right under my nose in our home before. Kids will fall and get hurt. NOT. FUN. I’m beginning to think my girls are really wild little animals.
Recently, I had another scare: My 1 year old tripped while walking (a normal thing that happens), except this particular time she did it right next to a pointed edge of the nightstand in the very corner of my bedroom and cut the side of her head… with me standing right next to her trying to shoo her away right before she fell. She cried a little (like she always does when she falls) but I didn’t even notice anything was wrong until I saw blood dripping down the side of her head and down my arm (it was the first time I’d ever had a ‘blood-situation’ like that at my house, and to me – a NON medical professional – it looked like a lot). I was petrified. All ended up fine (no stitches, it was a tiny puncture that’s on the mend) but one of the reasons I stayed calm was because my pediatric plastic surgeon husband spoon-fed me instructions about how to handle things over the phone.
So in the interest of maybe helping another mom deal with what I just dealt with (and because I’m not a medical professional), I thought I’d formally interview my husband, Dr. Andre Panossian about what to do when your kid is bleeding.
WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU NEED TO DO SHOULD YOUR CHILD FALL AND CUT THEMSELVES? Make sure child did not lose consciousness if he/she bumped their head (if he/she did lose consciousness or failed to immediately respond to you, even for a moment, call 911 immediately). If child is conscious and crying, get them upright and STAY CALM. Breathe deep and focus. This will serve to calm yourself and your child so that you can assess the situation with a clear head. Quickly find where the wound is.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO STOP THE BLEEDING YOURSELF? Remember this: ALL levels of bleeding will stop eventually, no matter how big the wound. Hold child so cut is above the heart (hold child upright if cut is on head, lay child down if cut is on leg) and IMMEDIATELY apply firm pressure directly to wound with a dry or lightly-moisted cloth/rag/paper-towel. Press cloth firmly against wound for 10-15 minutes. DO NOT LIFT CLOTH to check wound until 10 minutes has passed (this is very important, to NOT lift the pressure before 10 minutes to check the wound). If bleeding has not stopped after 10 minutes, apply more pressure and hold cloth again wound for 10 more minutes.
SO WHAT DO YOU DO AFTER THE 10 OR 20 MINUTES OF STOPPING THE BLEEDING? Once bleeding subsides, check wound. If it is large and gaping (or, if you just don’t feel that it looks right and are worried) it’s a good idea to take a trip to the ER or call 911 to determine if stitches are needed. Press a moist gauze (or towel) against the wound and wrap firmly to hold in place to maintain pressure for the car trip to hospital or while you’re waiting for 911 to arrive.
Dr. Andre Panossian is a board certified pediatric plastic surgeon with specialties in facial paralysis, vascular anomalies and hemangiomas. He has offices at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, CA.
(DISCLAIMER: ANY AND ALL INFORMATION WITHIN THIS POST IS PROVIDED AS GENERAL GUIDANCE. SHOULD YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, OR SEEK DETAILS REGARDING ANY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HERE, PLEASE CONSULT YOUR FAMILY DOCTOR.)
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A MINI-EMERGENCY AT HOME? HOW DID YOU HANDLE IT?