Minor accidents

However careful you are, you may not always be able to prevent minor accidents such as splinters, blisters and insect bites from happening, especially in the case of young children. It is useful to know when and how to treat these yourself and when to seek medical advice.

First aid kit

A well-equipped first aid kit is an essential requirement of every home. Because most accidents occur either in the kitchen or in the garden, the best place to keep first aid material is in the kitchen where it can most easily be reached. It cannot be emphasized enough that all medicines and sharp objects should be kept out of the reach of children – a common cause of both minor and major accidents is children swallowing brightly-coloured drugs that look like sweets and playing with sharp objects such as scissors. All equipment once used should be replaced, and out-of-date medicines flushed down the toilet. The basic items that a first aid kit should include are: . a notebook and pencil to jot down information that might be useful to a doctor making a home visit, such as the temperature of a child with fever and the time of day at which the temperature is highest . Blunt-ended scissors . tweezers . Safety pins . a thermometer . a measuring cup to give accurate doses of prescribed medicines . antiseptic lotion for cleansing wounds . antiseptic cream for applying to cuts and grazes after they have been cleaned . antihistamine cream for insect bites and stings . a soothing lotion (calamine is good) to apply in cases of minor burns, sunburn and skin rashes . petroleum jelly to prevent gauze sticking to a wound . analgesics, including aspirin-free painkillers specifically for children, to relieve headaches, toothache and other aches and pains . a preparation for upset stomachs . lozenges for a sore throat . cough mixture . crepe bandages . an assortment of different-sized sticking plasters . Water-proof plasters for cuts and grazes that should be kept dry . sterile gauze . absorbent gauze for wounds that bleed profusely . Two-inch wide bandages for hands and feet . One-inch bandages for fingers and toes . cotton wool for cleaning wounds . a box of tissues . an eyebath for conditions such as conjunctivitis and for washing out any foreign body that has lodged in the eye . sterile eye gauze to place beneath the eye should it need to be covered . travel sickness pills, if any member of the family needs them This list is, of course, not exhaustive, and should include any special preparations that are needed by the individual. When gving medicines care should be taken to follow all instructions carefully, and, if medical advice is sought, the doctor should be told what measures have already been taken. Remember, too, that some medicines cause drowsiness and should not be taken by someone who intends to drive or operate complicated machinery.

It may also be a good idea to attend one of the courses available that give tuition in basic first aid techniques. Your local library will have details.