We all know that new moms are the first-responder to every illness and injury that new babies experience for many years. One thing lacking today is parents taking the time to learn First Aid and CPR. New moms worry and think of all the things that can go wrong. I worried about how I would perform as a parent. I took the time to acquire skill sets and basic medical knowledge to get prepared to handle any situation correctly. Here are a few first aid essentials for new moms:
Baby’s Immune System
The debate continues about the overuse of antibacterial agents such as soaps, hand sanitizers and wipes. A healthy child will gain immunity from many things due to exposure. However, no one knows exactly what is being brought home on hands and what is on surfaces that children come in contact with. I do the wise thing and disinfect surfaces with cleaners approved for use around babies. I use regular soap and wash my hands thoroughly before feeding or handling my baby, especially if I have touched some questionable surfaces.
The main pathogens children get over and over again are common cold viruses. No one likes to see their child sick. However, most common viral illnesses in otherwise healthy children are short lived with no lasting effects. The dangerous viruses such as mumps, measles, rubella and others should be covered by completing all vaccinations on schedule.
Bandaging Boo Boos
I have bandaged plenty of cuts and scrapes over the years. It is wise to keep open wounds covered. Minor lacerations and brush burns should be cleaned with warm water and a mild soap suitable for the child’s age. Topical antibiotics are often used to prevent a local infection. Use them with discretion. Overuse of all antibiotic agents is causing highly resistant bacteria and viruses to emerge.
The big name brand bandages work the best. They cost a little more but hold up better. Children are like dirt magnets. Babies who are just beginning to crawl around are on the floor picking up all the germs that reside there. An adhesive bandage that stays in place is much better than ones that keep falling off.
A fever is an indication of an infection. A mild fever is anything above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit for infants up to six months old. Activity raises body temperature. Drinking cold or warm beverages within minutes of taking an oral temperature skews the results. It is best to get a good rectal thermometer for use on babies. Toddlers and other young children usually do not like to hold still long enough to have an oral temperature taken. Another option is to get an electronic thermometer that takes the temperature at the ear canal. They give instant results and are easy to use.
Mild fevers should not usually be treated. A doctor may recommend monitoring the temperature and allowing it to run its course. A fever is the body’s way of dealing with infection. Always consult a doctor before administering any drugs, including over the counter (OTC) ones such as ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Ibuprofen is an OTC drug for children at least six months of age. It can help ease pain, reduce fevers and it acts as an anti-inflammatory. Acetaminophen does not act as a systemic anti-inflammatory.
Check with the local hospital or Red Cross about classes for First Aid and CPR. Be sure the class includes training specific to infants and children. A new mom can be ready to face anything that comes along with a little training.
Although moms are prepared for every day bumps and bruises, it’s the emergencies that are the major concern. Know where to go in case of an emergency, visit the E-Care urgent care centers in Southlake.