What to do when the child takes a bad fall?
"With children it can be difficult to make a diagnosis on the basis of symptoms alone" begins prof. Giorgio Gasparini, Director of the Chair of Orthopedics and Traumatology of the “Magna Grecia” University of Catanzaro, “because there is not always an exact correspondence between the extent of the trauma and the extent of the symptoms manifested. Sometimes the child may have suffered a simple bruise yet reports unbearable pain, or, conversely, have suffered a fracture and not complain too much".
Why such a striking difference? "At the base there may be a different individual sensitivity to pain, a lesser experience of pain than the adult, but also opposing psychological motivations" replies Gasparini: "in fact, it may happen that a rather lively child who often 'gets into trouble' tends to diminish the consequences of his accident for not being scolded, while on the contrary a child eager for attention might emphasize the pain. And this can make it difficult for parents who don't know how to interpret what happened. "
How to go about it then? Better check it out
"Precisely because one cannot rely only on the symptoms reported by the child, it is better to be overzealous and have the child visit the pediatrician - if quickly available - or directly to the emergency room, where any doubts can be solved and where, if should he diagnose an injury of any importance, all the appropriate treatments can be carried out at the same time ", replies the orthopedist.
Is radiography always necessary?
“The opportunity to have a child undergo an x-ray examination is inversely proportional to his age. If it is true that the younger the child, the more we would like to spare him exposure to ionizing radiation, it is also true that the younger the patient, the less reliable are the symptoms and clinical signs detected by the doctor. Therefore it is often the radiography that allows the diagnosis and thus allows the timely setting of the correct treatment ".
What if there is a fracture?
If a fracture is detected, casting the area is the optimal solution, which guarantees the best functional recovery compared to the various braces. "The plaster, being immovable, is certainly worn in the correct way" underlines the prof. Gasparini, "while the brace, precisely because it is removable, can be moved by the child or removed by the mother - perhaps 'pity' from the annoyances that the child might complain about - and then be repositioned in the wrong way, ruining its effectiveness".
Surgery, an eventuality not to be demonized
In a minority of cases, surgery may be required. “It is an option that should not scare” the orthopedist reassured “since the surgical techniques available today allow us to minimize the intervention and to obtain the best possible recovery of the damaged bone segment or joint. It should also be borne in mind that an inadequate treatment could compromise the complete functional recovery and make its effects felt even after many years. Better then a little annoyance today for which our son will thank us tomorrow ".
Dos and don'ts while waiting for the medical examination
OK The ice. Ice is an excellent anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, which has a vasoconstrictive action that limits the formation of edema and hematoma. For it to be effective, it should be applied as soon as possible after the fall and kept in contact with the injured area for about 15 minutes. No more, because it could irritate or even burn the baby's delicate skin.
Precisely for this reason, ice should never be applied directly to the skin but always by wrapping it in a cloth (a kitchen towel is fine). The best is to apply the ice pack in rubberized canvas (always covered with a cloth), as it also adapts well to curved surfaces, such as those of an ankle or a wrist. A practical alternative to take with you, for example for a trip out of town, are the bags of instant ice (they are sold in pharmacies and just squeeze them firmly to break the bubble that contains the coolant), which guarantee a cold effect for about 15 minutes. After the first time, the ice can be reapplied from time to time during the day to relieve the pain a little.
OK rest. After a fall it is certainly advisable to keep the traumatized part at rest: if it is an upper limb, you can wear the classic scarf tied around the neck, if a lower limb is involved, it is advisable to avoid placing it on the ground and it is advisable to keep the leg raised, for example by leaning it against a chair with a cushion underneath, again in order to reduce the formation of edema.
NO The manipulations. It is absolutely forbidden to do any kind of manipulation, which could worsen the situation. Certain operations are the sole responsibility of the orthopedist.
NO The ointments. The ointments for bruises and sprains have an anti-inflammatory effect, however, being a drug with local action, their effectiveness is modest, moreover if there are abrasions or skin lesions the ointment could delay healing.
NO The 'homemade' bandages. Do-it-yourself bandages should be avoided: even if a bandage is necessary, it must be made with very specific materials and methods, which only the health personnel know. A bandage that is too light for example is completely useless, a too tight one could even cause damage.
Read also: What to do if the baby hits his head
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- baby bruises
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- fractures children
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