How to treat the cuts and breaks that come with summer – Part 2

Your continued guide to summertime injuries

Kids are clumsy, let’s face it. They are growing rapidly and struggling to adjust to their new lanky limbs and center of balance. As a result it seems like they are almost constantly tripping, falling, bumping, or tumbling. Add to that their breakneck speed and inability to just sit still and you are sure to end up with more than a few black eyes and band aids. In this article we’re going to take a look at a few different summertime injuries and talk about ways to avoid them, how to treat them, and when they should be seen by your friendly pediatrician here at The Pediatric Center.

  • Cuts and lacerations, minor and major.
  • Stubs, jammed fingers and stubbed toes.
  • Bends, sprains and hyper extensions.
  • Breaks.

Cuts and Lacerations

Cuts and Breaks

Minor Cut on Finger

Cuts and lacerations are when tissue is torn apart opening the flesh. The good news is that most of the time your child’s cuts will be minor ones, able to be treated at home.

  • Stop the bleeding. Apply pressure to stop the bleeding.
  • Clean the cut. Wash with mild soap and water. Dry the cut and surrounding area.
  • Cover. Apply a bandage, and keep the area clean and dry.

However some children are more skilled than others at injuring themselves. These children succeed in cutting themselves in a more major way. It can be a bit tricky trying to decide if your child’s cut is serious enough to need a visit to the doctor or emergency room. Here are a few signs that your child’s cut needs medical attention.

  • If it is deep enough that you can see any yellow subcutaneous fatty tissue.
  • If it was caused by a bite, either animal or human. Your child may need antibiotics, stitches, and or a tetanus booster.
  • If it is gaping open enough that you cannot easily close it with gentle pressure.
  • If the bleeding does not appear to slow down.
  • If it is located on or near a joint, it may have injured tendons, ligaments, or nerves.
  • If it was caused by something rusty or dirty.
  • If it was caused by a foreign object impaling the tissue.
  • If it was on or near the genitalia, or on a cosmetically significant area such as the face.
  • If it was a minor cut treated at home and shows signs of infection, loss of blood flow or function.

Stubs

Cuts and Breaks and Stubbed Toes

Protect Those Piggies!

Stubbing a toe or jamming a finger is a very common summertime injury for children. A stub or jam is a type of joint or ligament sprain that is caused by significant impact to the end of the finger or toe. Basketballs, baseballs, soccer balls, most balls actually, are particularly good at stubbing toes and jamming fingers. Sports are fun, but they are also rough on bodies. Corners are another culprit. Corners most often target bare toes but have been known to attack toes that are in shoes, and even fingers. Stubbed toes, and jammed fingers often heal without need for treatment, although there are things you can do at home to speed up recovery times. In some cases medical attention is needed to treat more severe stub and jam injuries. The at home treatments for stubbed toes and jammed fingers is very similar with just one main difference.

  • Check the condition of your child’s finger or toe to see how much damage was done. Is there is a bent or misaligned appearance? Is it bleeding? Is it swollen or bruised? These are things you want to look for.
  • Clean and disinfect any cuts, abrasions, or scrapes.
  • For jammed fingers it may be helpful to tape the injured finger to an adjacent finger for added stability and support. This is called “buddy taping.”
  • Apply ice to reduce swelling.
  • Treat pain with over the counter pain medications. Children’s ibuprofen and acetaminophen should do the trick. Make sure to give the appropriate dose.
  • Elevate especially bad stubbed toes or jammed fingers.
  • Monitor injury for signs of serious problems such as; lingering pain and inflammation, bent appearance, loss of movement, or numbness. If you notice any of these come see us at The Pediatric Center.

Bends, sprains, and hyperextensions

Bruise on sprained ankle - cuts and Breaks

BRUISE ON SPRAINED ANKLE

Bends, sprains, and hyperextensions are all injuries where a ligament or ligaments surrounding a joint stretch or tear due to unnatural movement. Hyperextensions can be a bit more serious and can affect tendons and bones in the area hyperextended. These injuries happen when a person falls, twists, or are hit in a way that forces the body out of it’s normal position. These injuries are commonly associated with playing sports, one of the easiest ways to avoid these injuries, and hyperextensions in particular, is to practice proper technique. If your child appears to have suffered from either of these injuries get them off their feet, ice the affected area, and manage pain with over the counter pain medications such as children’s ibuprofen or children’s acetaminophen. Monitor the situation and if things get worse see a doctor.

Breaks

Types of bone fractures

Breaks are perhaps the most dreaded of summertime injuries. Many kids will have a broken bone at some point. Most are fractures of the upper extremities: the wrist, the forearm, fingers, and above the elbow. This is because when kids fall their natural reflex is to throw their hands out in an attempt to break their fall. Broken bones can be hard to identify, here are a few things to look for.

  • You or your child heard a snap or a grinding noise at the time of the injury.
  • It is painful for your child to move, touch, or press on it.
  • If the injured limb looks deformed. In severe breaks the bone may even poke through the skin. In this case call 911.
  • There is bruising, swelling and/or tenderness.

If you suspect that your child may have broken a bone then you will need to stabilize the break as soon as possible. Make and apply a splint, apply ice, and get them to a doctor as soon as possible. It is impossible to keep kids out of harm’s way all the time, there are a number of safety precautions you can take to prevent injuries. These include making sure that your children wear proper safety gear at all times when participating in sports or strenuous activities, childproofing your home, and using the appropriate car seats and seat belts. Ensuring that your children get enough vitamin D and calcium can go a long way towards building strong healthy bones.

We know that these injuries are scary, not just for the injured child, but for you parents as well. If your child does suffer one of these injuries remember, they are very treatable and your child will be up and playing in no time.


Check out part 3 of “How to treat the cuts and breaks that come with summer” for information about home treatments for all of the injuries our playful children might experience during the summer.

If you believe your child has had an especially rough summer, make sure to schedule an appointment with your Idaho Falls pediatrics at The Pediatric Center. We can help you determine the best course of action for anything that comes your way concerning your child’s health and safety. Also, be sure to check out our Parent Education center which covers many other childhood medical conditions such as:

We pride ourselves in being the best pediatric authority in Idaho Falls and our pediatricians have extensive training and experience so as to provide you and your child with the best pediatric care possible. We offer two convenient locations in eastern Idaho to serve you and we accept most major insurance plans and Medicaid. With flexible office hours and a professional support staff, The Pediatric Center is the best place to take your children when summer fun results in bumps and bruises.


Image credits

Finger Incision: By ElooKoNOwn work, GFDL, Link

Toes: Attribution, Link

Bone Fractures: By OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site. http://cnx.org/content/col11496/1.6/, Sep 7, 2015., CC BY 4.0, Link