Infant First Aid
By Kristyn Kusek
When your baby gets hurt -- be it a bug bite or a bruise -- knowing how
to care for her can help ease your anxiety. Here, first aid tips for
treating minor boo-boos:
- Scrapes and Cuts If the wound doesn't appear to need
stitches and isn't bleeding heavily, wash it with gentle soap and
water, then pat dry. Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic (like
Neosporin) and cover with a Band-Aid. If you notice any signs of
infection (like redness, swelling or pus), see your pediatrician.
- Minor Burns Run cool water over the affected area to
soothe pain (don't apply ice-it damages skin tissue, causing more
discomfort). To protect the skin, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly
and cover with a bandage. If blisters appear, don't drain them-open
ones are easily infected.
- Sunburn When outdoors, infants and toddlers should
always be protected from the sun with a hat and 30 SPF sunscreen
(Sunscreen isn't recommended for infants under 6 months; instead, keep
your baby out of direct sunlight and dress her in protective clothing.)
But if your baby gets a sunburn, soothe it with an aloe vera-based
cream. You can also administer over-the-counter pain relievers, like
Tylenol. If vomiting or fever occurs, it means the burn is severe and
you should see your pediatrician.
- Bug Bites Most insect bites and stings look like firm,
raised bumps. Care for a bee sting by gently scraping out the stinger
with a sterile pin or tweezers. Put a cold compress on the area to
relieve pain. (Note that many kids are allergic to bee stings. If rapid
swelling or wheezing occurs, get medical help immediately.) Mosquito
bites are especially common in babies -- the bugs are actually
attracted to the hemoglobin in infant blood. Clean and dry the bite,
then apply an over-the-counter itch relief cream, like Benadryl
ointment. To keep your child from scratching, cut her fingernails and
keep them clean.
- Knots and Bruises Apply an ice compress to the area to
help numb pain and reduce swelling. To relieve soreness, administer an
over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol or Ibuprofen. If your child
seems lethargic, disoriented, or vomits after bumping his head, seek
medical care to check for a concussion.
- Motion Sickness/Nausea It's best not to give babies
and toddlers medication for nausea -- doctors say it can make stomach
upset worse. Simply let your child rest and call your pediatrician if
symptoms worsen or don't subside within a few hours.