by Dr. Rebecca Doise, kids E.R. Medical Director
Dr. Rebecca Doise

We all do our best to avoid the emergency room by taking safety precautions and trying to keep our family members in good health. Sometimes, despite our best efforts and intentions, it is just not possible. Accidents and injuries happen. They are scary, especially when they involve your kid. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Stay calm. If you panic, so will your child.
  1. If your child is unresponsive, call 911 and do the “ABC” check:
    • Check the Airway to make sure it’s not blocked.
    • Check for Breathing – sounds of inhaled and exhaled air.
    • Check for Circulation – your child’s pulse. If you need to start CPR or do the Heimlich maneuver, the dispatcher can walk you through the steps while the paramedics are en route. Better yet, be prepared by taking a CPR class or refresher course.
  1. Stop any bleeding by applying pressure to the wound. Remember to keep holding it (don’t peek). Every time you relieve the pressure, the bleeding will restart. So hold on, and apply pressure for at least 10 minutes. (Be prepared: scalp and tongue wounds are especially bloody, so try not to overreact. Follow the same steps for these wounds.)
  1. DO NOT move your child if you suspect a head, neck or back injury. With any serious head injury, assume your child also has a broken neck, just in case. Cover him or her with a blanket and wait for the paramedics.
  1. If a finger or toe has been cut off (gruesome, but it happens), apply pressure to the wound, then place a cloth, towel or plastic bag around the body part and ice it. Make sure it isn’t directly touching the ice and is protected. The body part can possibly be reattached if the surgery is done within six hours. 
  1. On the chance that your child will need emergency surgery, don’t give him or her anything to eat or drink. It’s much safer to get anesthesia on an empty stomach.

The kids E.R. at Women’s & Children’s Hospital is the only pediatric-focused emergency department in Acadiana staffed 24/7 by board-certified pediatricians, and it has some of the shortest average wait times in the region. Learn more:

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