SOS Blog

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Treating Summer Injuries

Common Childhood Injuries & How to Treat Them

With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect opportunity to get the whole families outdoors. We know that physical activities like riding a bike, playing sports and swimming stimulate your child’s imagination in addition to being great options for exercise. We also know that such activities can also lead to nasty injuries. After all, everyone has at least one story of how they injured themselves during childhood. As a parent, the best thing you can do in these situations is to make sure you are prepared for whatever comes your way. In this blog, we’ve broken down how to deal with the most common kid injuries.

Jammed Fingers

A jammed finger is typically a sprain to the joint or knuckle of the finger. You are probably pretty familiar with how this type of injury feels, as it is fairly common - although typically minor. Look out for symptoms including redness and swelling, mild pain and stiffness as identifiers of a jammed finger. The duration and severity of these symptoms depend on how bad the injury is, but if your child’s pain is intense or lasts more than 24 hours, take them to a doctor. 

Potential causes of a jammed finger can vary. This injury is very common for kids who play sports, especially basketball, baseball or volleyball, where a stray hand has the potential to absorb the impact of the ball. Jammed fingers can also occur when a door or drawer is closed on a finger or when your child puts down their hand to break a fall. 

The best way to treat a jammed finger at home is by following RICE. This acronym stands for:

  • Rest: Avoid allowing your child to use the hand in any other physical activities until the sprain has healed.
  • Ice: Ice is extremely helpful for reducing swelling and redness. Apply for 15 minutes at a time for the first 24 hours of injury or until the swelling goes down.
  • Compression: You can genty wrap your child’s finger with a compression bandage in order to reduce swelling and aid healing. This option can be good for parents who cannot always be there to watch over their child and make sure they are not using their sprained finger!
  • Elevation: Rest your child’s hand on a pillow in which their elbow is lower than the affected hand. This will work to reduce inflammation and pain. 

Please note that it’s important to see a doctor if the finger appears crooked, your child develops a fever following the injury, the swelling worsens despite home remedies or the pain increases. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Scraped Knees

Scraped knees are one of the most common injuries for your child, as they can easily take a tumble while riding a bike or falling down on concrete. Thankfully, they are fairly easy to treat and usually minor. However, it is very important to complete the necessary treatment steps at home so that the scrape does not become infected. 

Every household should have the following products to treat a scraped knee:

  • Gauze
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bandages

The very first thing to do when your child comes to you with a scrape is to wash your own hands. Hands carry a lot of germs, and an infection of this injury would be the worst case scenario. Next, use gauze to stem the bleeding, if necessary. Gently apply pressure to the wound until the bleeding stops. Then, apply an antibiotic ointment to the injury. This step is the most effective way to prevent an infection, so be sure not to skip it! Finally, add a bandage on top of the wound. Gently wash the skinned knee each day, changing the bandage every time you do so. 

Throughout the healing process, it’s important to watch for infection. Signs of infection include:

  • Yellow or green drainage
  • Worsening redness
  • Swelling or pain
  • Heat radiating around the wound

If these symptoms are present, please consult a doctor for treatment. 

Head Injuries

These types of injuries can be tricky, as there are many different kinds with varying degrees of urgency. The first form of head injury to consider is bumps and cuts. It’s easy for children to get minor wounds to the face if they are distracted while playing. Although these injuries may seem frightening, they are thankfully usually minor and able to be treated at home. 

Similar to a scraped knee, you’ll need to stop the bleeding by applying pressure with a clean cloth. Wash the area well with soap and water, then apply antiseptic cream. Be sure to cover the area with a bandage to make sure it does not worsen. 

Similarly, minor bumps are fairly common and usually nothing to worry about. Apply ice to the bump for 15 minutes at a time and monitor your child’s behavior. However, some head injuries can cause serious consequences if left untreated. If you see your child exhibit multiple of the following symptoms, take him or her to the doctor immediately:

  • Severe bleeding
  • Severe headache
  • Fluctuating consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of balance
  • Unequal pupil size
  • Slurred speech
  • Repeated vomiting

These symptoms could be signs of a more serious injury such as a concussion. 


Burns are most commonly caused by hot cooking surfaces, fires or even the sun. The first step in treating these injuries is to know what type of burn is present. Burn injuries are rated from first to third degree, depending on the severity. Each type is treated differently, so it is important to know the differences between the three. 

A first-degree burn is known as a superficial burn. These are the mildest type of burn, as they only affect the top layer of skin. This type of burn results in pain and reddening of the skin. Superficial burns can easily be treated at home with products like aloe vera or ointment. If your child continues to be uncomfortable due to the pain, you can give them pain medication. 

Second-degree burns are slightly more intense. In addition to pain and redness, swelling and blistering is also present.
Did you know the sun can cause these types of painful burns? To avoid painful second-degree burns and exposure to harmful UV rays that can result in cancers later in life, be sure to use sunscreen when allowing your child to play outdoors. 

Second-degree burns typically require a prescription for creams or ointments to more effectively treat the injury. 

Other Preventable Injuries

Most of the injuries your kids encounter will be minor, however, every parent should be equipped with the full knowledge to make the best decisions for their children’s wellbeing. Drowning and poisoning are among two of the most deadly injuries children can receive. In fact, one in five of those that die from drowning are children under 14. See below for resources to educate yourself on water safety and poison prevention:

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