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First aid mishaps that are proving fatal

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first-aid-mishaps-kenyaEven as kids continue being exposed to accidents at schools and homes, wrong administration of first aid is putting lives of children in danger.

From poisoning, injuries from falls, cuts and burns a simple misconception on administration of first aid could easily send the child on their death bed.

Common home accidents like mislabeling easily causes poisoning among children.

“If you store dangerous in containers that are not their original containers, it can cause poisoning,” explains Andrew Wanjohi, a first aid instructor at St.John Ambulance Kenya.

First aid for poisoning should be to immediately take the child to the hospital and take note of what the child has ingested.

There are common misconceptions in treating poisoning which Andrew warns agaisnt.

“You shouldn't give them anything to eat or drink or induce vomiting,” remarked the instructor.

If taken, these steps may even cause further injury.

“If you induce vomiting for instance you may cause the person to choke. The child may also be at greater danger if they had taken a corrosive substance as it will damage the food pipe,” explained Andrew.

Choking is another common injury with many misconceptions on how it should be handled.

“For choking infants, one should give five back slaps and alternate them with five chest thrusts,” advises Andrew.

Chest thrusts refer to compressing the chest. “This should be done until what the baby is choking on gets out,” he added.

When dealing with choking, one should not give the child anything to eat or drink.

“By doing this, you are just adding on the pressure of whatever it is that blocked their airway which can even be fatal,” said Andrew.

Burns also occur quite often in household settings.

“What you need to do with burns is to cool the affected area,” remarks Andrew.

Burns should be treated by running the area under water for 10 minutes or 20 minutes if it is a chemical burn. Chemical burns are caused by corrosive substances such as sulphuric acid.

One should then cover the area with any polythene material.

“The clear cling film used in the kitchen would be the best but other plastic paper bags can also work,” he says.

Andrew warns against the common misconception of applying any creams on the burnt area such as vaseline. He also advises against using any fluffy material such as cotton on the injured area.

Minor wounds such as small cuts also easily happen in the home. For these Andrew advises to wash the wound and use antiseptic.

Major bleeding can also occur at the home and are caused by stabs for instance.

“In treating these, one should aim to control the bleeding by applying direct pressure on the wound,” said Andrew.

One should use dressing on the area and organize to take the child to hospital immediately.

During bleeding there is the danger of people administering first aid not watching out for their safety.

“When someone is bleeding, they are prone to infection so you shouldn't come into direct contact with someone else's blood,” remarked Andrew.

He therefore advises that one should wear disposable gloves or use the casualty if they are able to handle themselves and instruct them on what to do.

If one is not sure of the first aid treatment to give, they should always seek help form emergency services such as AAR, Red Cross, St.John Ambulance and the like.

“Do not guess and even if you are trained in first aid, only do what you are trained to do,” warns Andrew.

St.John Ambulance offers a one day first aid course for kids called 'Lifesaver for Babies and Children' at a fee of Sh2000 per person. Those interested should contact St.John Ambulance and will be called back once there is quorum. If one can gather a group of at least ten people and a venue, then St.John can easily send someone to offer the training.

For more information contact them on 0721 611 555, 0733 930 000 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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