Our week: head injury, broken nose and febrile seizure

Thank goodness this week is over!

After teaching several classes my wife also had to practice her skills in the real world. Within the last 6 days we had to deal with a smashed face which included a broken nose, a 7 month old baby having a febrile seizure which lasted over 20 minutes and to top it up a suspected broken finger.

It all started on Monday when my wife and two of her friends met to check out one of the local secondary schools. One of the girls got delayed with the school run. So she ran towards the car where my wife and the other friend waited.

As she almost reached the car her heels slipped on the footpath (thanks to the gravel). She tried to hold onto the car but didn’t get a grip. Instead she went down face first and skidded on the gravel.

They got out of the car and there was blood everywhere. As you can imagine this scene attracted some local attention including some passing Garda who offered her to bring her to hospital.

Instead Siobhan took over. Well equipped with our First Aid kit in our car she cleaned her up as much as she could and drove her to our house. There an icepack was immediately applied and some more cleaning up carried out.

After about an hour, plenty of coffee and reassurance that she didn’t look “too bad” the girls brought her home. One of the last things Siobhan mentioned to her was to keep an eye on  the swelling of her face, headaches, drowsiness and potential vomiting. If in any doubt she should go to the hospital.

At 11pm that night we got a text saying that she was admitted to casualty with a broken nose and suspected head injury as the doctor thought spinal fluid came out of her nose.

After a CT scan it showed there was no apparent skull fracture.

So what did we learn:

  • never ever underestimate a facial injury
  • also monitor for signs of head injuries, i.e. dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, vomiting, fluid exiting from nostrils or ears
  • apply an icepack to minimise swelling
  • if in any doubt attend an A&E department
  • attend one of our Basic First Aid courses which we hold in Dublin every month and be prepared

Our next call of duty came on Wednesday afternoon. Our children were just in the door after returning from an Easter camp. They all sat quietly on the kitchen table (quietly doesn’t happen very often in our house) when the phone rang.

A friend of ours who has also 4 children asked – surprisingly calm – for some First Aid advice for her 7 months old baby who was twitching and became very floppy.

Siobhan ran out of the house and just shouted to me “the baby is having a seizure”.

And she was right. As it turned out the little boy had a bit of the temperature that morning and wasn’t himself. Out of the blue he had a febrile convulsion.

Siobhan timed the event from the second she got the call from the mother. As the seizure lasted for more than 5 minutes she decided to call an ambulance.

The ambulance station is only down the road so the wait was short enough. However when the paramedics arrived the baby had an oxygen saturation of less than 50% (you and I have at least 95%).They administed anti convulsion medication via the nose. Mother and child were brought to hospital for tests and observations.

Thankfully it turned out to be related to the temperature and nothing sinister was found. They were discharged the next morning.

You can read the mother’s own account of what happened on our Facebook page.

What do you take from this story?

  • if your child has a temperature monitor it closely
  • young children can’t express themselves and can take a turn for the worst very quickly
  • a febrile convulsion can be life threatening if you don’t intervene
  • if the seizure lasts for more the  5 minutes call an ambulance
  • attend one of our Paediatric First Aid courses in Dublin and be prepared

The third event of the week was at a local holiday camp for children. One of the children fell backwards and hurt her fingers. One of the leaders asked Siobhan to have a look “just in case”. They were sore but the child was not in any apparent distress.

Siobhan taped the fingers together to give them support and applied an ice pack to reduce the swelling. She told her mum to keep an eye on the swelling and if in any doubt to go to hospital to get an xray done.

As the pain and swelling did not ease after 3 days the mother brought her to Casualty. The xray revealed that one the fingers had a hairline fracture – which is very common in children as their bones are still relatively soft.

Even though this was the most minor incident this week you can still learn something from it.

It’s called RICE – the classic treatment for sprains and strains.

R – rest

I – ice

C – compression

E – elevation

If you are interested in learning more essential First Aid techniques then come and join us at one of our 1 day First Aid courses in Bewleys Hotel Newlands Cross, Dublin.

This week has proven one more time why we always teach “it’s better to know First Aid and not need it than to need it and not know it”

You never know when you will be asked to perform First Aid on a family member or friend!



Popcorn kills toddler in creche

Popcorn can be dangerous for toddlers

A TODDLER choked to death on a popcorn kernel she found at her creche, an inquest heard yesterday.

Lauren Meehan-O’Byrne was just 18 months old when she died at Temple Street Children’s Hospital on March 19 last year, having never recovered from the incident five days previously.

Dublin coroner Dr Brian Farrell is calling on the HSE to ban popcorn from all pre-school facilities in the wake of the incident.

Lauren and a number of other infants had been making their way from the toddler room to the dining room at the creche for playtime when childcare assistant Sabrina Bennis noticed that the 18-month-old was coughing.

She patted her on the back but the cough became worse and then Lauren suddenly inhaled as though she could not breathe. Co-worker Carol Blake attempted the Heimlich manoeuvre but this did not work.

Paramedic Mark O’Sullivan told the court that when he arrived Lauren was unresponsive and pulseless.

Several attempts were made to clear her airway before he decided to insert a tube. This was successful and Lauren was then transferred to the Midwestern Regional Hospital in Limerick. An operation was carried out to remove a popcorn kernel, which was lodged so far down Lauren’s trachea that it was not visible to the naked eye.

Lauren was transferred to Temple Street that evening. However, she had suffered extensive brain damage having been deprived of oxygen, and never recovered. She died five days later when life support was withdrawn.

The court heard that there were currently no regulations preventing creches and pre-schools from giving popcorn to young children. HSE guidelines only recommend that snacks like popcorn are not given to children under five years old to prevent the possibility of choking.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a very stern warning regarding the health risks that popcorn poses to young children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics undertook an extensive study about popcorn and children. The study revealed that time and time again, popcorn posed an extremely serious threat to the safety of younger children. The popcorn kernel and the popcorn hull both pose a major risk of choking when they are consumed by young children.

The choking risk associated with popcorn kernels and hulls and small children is so significant that it does lead to death in some instances.

When it comes to feeding popcorn to children, infants naturally should never be given popcorn as a food. This applies even to those infants who otherwise have started eating solid food products. The fact of the matter is that many parents hand off little bags of popcorn to their toddlers. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly condemns this practice. A significant number of toddlers have ended up choking on popcorn, some of these children even dying as a result.

There is not absolute age at which younger children should be permitted to eat popcorn. The size and maturity of a particular child plays a role in making this determination. But again, it is far better to play it safe than be sorry.





Toddler suffers severe internal injuries after drinking oven cleaner

Keep cleaning products away from children

We came across an article in the Irish Independent on 31st August 2012 about a toddler in the UK who is in a serious condition in hospital after drinking oven cleaner.

This is just another sad  reminder how quickly accidents with small children can happen.

Callum Blackshaw, a 2 year old boy from Orsett, Essex managed to climb onto the kitchen table where his granny left a bottle of oven cleaner which she bought for her daughter. He managed to open the child lock of the product and drank several mouthful.

He is now in Great Ormond Street Hospital where he is being treated for severe internal injuries. Doctors say that he may need an oesophagus transplant in the future as a result of his injuries.

If you have small children or look after toddlers please take your time and look at your home from a child safety point of view:

  • Keep anything that may be poisonous (all medicines and pills, household cleaners and garden products) out of reach, preferably in a locked cupboard.
  • Use containers that have child-resistant tops. But be aware that by the age of three, many children are able to open child-resistant tops.
  • Keep all dangerous chemicals in their original containers. For example, do not store weedkiller in an old drinks bottle as a young child may mistake it for something safe to drink.
  • Dispose of unwanted medicines and chemicals carefully.

For more information on how to “child proof” your home please visit our First Aid tip “Safety in the home”.

Please also take some time to visit the website of the Irish National Poisons Information Centre. You will find valuable information about poisons, prevention as well as treatment.

If you want to find out how to deal with poison accidents and the appropriate First Aid measures we encourage you to take part in one of our First Aid courses. We run regular First Aid courses in Dublin where poisoning is just one topic of many accidents that can happen and where First Aid skills are required.

First Aid for Kids Fundraiser for Crumlin Hospital

Support Crumlin hospital

Calling all Mums, Dads, Grandparents & Minders

Would you like to learn how to deal with the most life threatening medical emergencies in children and infants while at the same time raising much needed funds for a very worthy cause, Crumlin Children’s Hospital?

First Aid For Everyone is proudly supporting an upcoming fundraising event for Crumlin hospital.

The event – a 3 hour presentation on First Aid for children will take place at 7pm on Tuesday 15th May 2012 in Bewley’s Hotel, Leopardstown, Co Dublin.

This comprehensive 3 hour course is a must for parents/carers or anyone involved in caring for babies and young children. The topics that will be covered include

  • CPR demo
  • Choking
  • Burns
  • Meningitis
  • Poisoning
  • Head injury
  • Temperature/febrile seizures
  • Accident prevention in the home
  • Calling the emergency services
  • The First Aid kit

The course is delivered via Power Point presentation and there are lots of visual aids and video clips. There will of course be plenty of opportunity for participants to ask questions and there will be a selection of handouts such as fire safety, poisons and child safety.

In addition there we will have a special guest on the night who will give some firsthand insight into the fantastic work of Crumlin Children’s Hospital!

There will also be some great raffle prizes to be won with raffle tickets being sold both in advance and on the night. Details to follow!

To find out more and to book your place please click here.

Please book your place soon. All proceeds will go to buy vital equipment and toys for children hospital in Crumlin. It’s a very worthy cause.

Please share this post with all your friends and on Facebook.