It’s that time of year, when children all around the UK mysteriously disappear to be replaced by toe curling monsters and hair-raising witches and ghouls! Halloween is all about having fun but with all that excitement and energy comes lots of opportunities for accidents, especially when you throw into the mix dark nights, trailing gowns, vision obscuring masks and an excess of sugar!
Never fear, the Trainingly team love Halloween and have kindly shared their very own spooky Halloween First Aid Special in which they highlight the typical activities where accidents may take place and offer lots of suggestions for appropriate first aid responses.
Dare to read on…….?
Pumpkin carving is a job for adults as sharp knives are often needed to penetrate the hard outer shell. However, it only takes a minute for our backs to be turned and before we know it an inquisitive child has managed to get their hands on the knife or other sharp instrument and cut their hand in the process!
A minor cut can be dealt with by:
- cleaning the wound under (drinking-quality) running tap water
- stopping the bleeding by applying pressure
- patting the area dry with a clean cloth
- covering it with a sterile, adhesive dressing (such as a plaster)
However, if the cut is deep and won’t stop bleeding:
- put pressure on the wound with a tea towel or clothing
- call 999
- keep pressure on the wound until help arrives
Trick or Treating
Taking to dimly-lit streets in dark costumes with trailing cloaks and accessories opens up numerous opportunities for first aid incidents such as bumps to the head, sprained ankles and, more seriously, injuries crossing the roads.
Visibility can be improved by wearing light coloured costumes, adding reflective tape or wearing glow bands and carrying a torch…..a trick or treat must-have! Masks worn on top of, rather than over the head, can help to prevent falls due to not being able to see properly and it’s a good idea to pin trailing hems and cloaks before leaving the house.
If incidents do take place, here are the suggested first aid responses:
Sprains and Strains
- Rest – rest the injured limb using a crutch, sling or splint
- Ice – place a cold compress on the injured area to prevent swelling. Do not place ice directly onto exposed skin!
- Compression – a bandage or sling can help to support the injured limb and reduce swelling
- Elevation – raise the injured limb above the heart, again to reduce swelling
- Sit the child down
- Apply something cold (cold compress or ice wrapped in a tea towel) to the injured area to reduce swelling and pain
- Monitor the child for signs of a more severe head injury, especially if you did not witness the incident taking place
You don’t need to leave the house for spooky accidents to happen. Halloween parties involving sweets and games such as ‘apple bobbing’ can sometimes, sadly, result in choking incidents.
- Cough it out – encourage them to cough it out. If that doesn’t work move to stage 2…
- Slap it out – help the child bend forward and use the heal of your hand to give up to 5 short, sharp blows between their shoulder blades. Check their mouth to see if there is anything in there. If there is encourage them to remove it themselves
- Squeeze it out – if the back blows don’t work, try giving up to 5 abdominal thrusts. Stand behind the child, making sure they are bent forward. Link your hands between their tummy button and the bottom of their chest and clench your lower hand into a fist. Pull sharply inwards and upwards
- If they are still choking call 999 for an ambulance. Then repeat steps 2 and 3 until whatever is stuck is cleared, help arrives or the child becomes unresponsive
- If the child becomes unresponsive at any stage, open their airway and check their breathing and commence CPR if necessary whilst you wait for an ambulance to arrive
Thinking ahead and taking steps to prepare activities in advance can often serve as to minimise risk and prevent some first aid incidents taking place. This includes making sure you have a First Aid box to hand that contains the essential safety items. Watch out for expiry dates on plasters and creams!