One of the most stressful parts about being a parent is dealing with a child’s injuries. While your children may get banged up pretty often, knowing just a few first aid tips can help.

Treating an Open Cut or Scrape

A bleeding wound can be among the most alarming, but cleaning the area with soap and warm water often reveals that the wound isn’t as bad as it first seemed. After it has been cleaned, dab the area with a clean cloth until the bleeding stops. In some cases, treat the injury with an antibiotic ointment or spray and dress it in a clean bandage. If the wound doesn’t stop bleeding after a few minutes, you should take your child to an emergency room.

In either case, clean the wound every day and apply a new sampling of antibiotics. Dress it in a fresh bandage. If the wound was serious, your child may be hospitalized and caregivers will take care of redressing the wound.

Treating Burns Quickly is Vital

As soon as your child comes to you with a burn, stop the burn, rinse the affected area under cool running water. Otherwise, you can wet a washcloth with cold water and apply that to the burn. Either way, continue to cool the area until the pain subsides. Dress in a clean, loosely wrapped bandage. In cases where the burn covers more than one-quarter of an inch or is more severe, presenting with white or brown skin, take your child to the emergency room for treatment.

Similarly, if the burns are on the face, genitals, or hands, your child needs to see a doctor immediately. While waiting for an ambulance, covering your child with a clean sheet or sterile gauze can help reduce the risk of infection.

After the initial treatment, monitor your child for infection. If blisters pop of their own accord or the skin breaks, treat with an antibiotic solution and cover with a clean, loosely fitted bandage. Swelling, redness, discharge, or tenderness are signs of infection and require immediate treatment from a doctor.

The key to treating any injury to your child is to clean the affected area and keep it covered to prevent infection. In cases of insect stings and small splinters, remove the foreign object, before cleaning the wound. Where the debris is larger and deeper, such as a shard of glass, clean around the wound and leave intact, until a trained caregiver can determine the best course of action. While some injuries may be minor and can be treated at home, more severe injuries require immediate and professional medical attention.