A bump on the head...

Thursday 11 September 1:05 PM

 A child comes to you after bumping their head.  Do you apply an icepack?  A bandage?  Or give them a quick cuddle?  

Some first aiders/trainers feel that applying bandages/dressings/ice if a child has a fracture may put some pressure onto the skull and therefore they feel there may be an issue.  So what do the guidelines say?

The current guideline for head injury can be found at: http://www.resus.org.au/policy/guidelines/section_9/head_injury.htm

This guideline talks about direct pressure for bleeding to the skull.  However for those injuries that are not defined as head injuries and are more minor in nature, time for the child to calm him/herself may be all that is required.  The head injury ARC guideline is about the internal damage done to the skull/brains membranes. Minor injuries without significant possible brain skull damage are able to be treated with a cautious wait and see, but must be evaluated as required.

First aiders should be trained to deal with the injury, however sometimes the mere act of gaining the confidence of the child is important.  I spent 30 years as an ambulance paramedic and always carried a band aid.  My first contact with an injured child was to give them the band aid to hold and this created trust immediately.

So what to do with the child who has bumped their head?  There is no written advice from the Australian Resuscitation Council regarding applying ice but if it helps a child recover then go ahead.  Of course, those who do not recover quickly need evaluation from medical services. 

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