Category Archives: Fall Emergencies

Letting a Baby Sleep after a Major Fall – Safe or Not?

Children, most especially babies and toddlers, fall most of the time. This can occur while they are practicing walking, running around the house or playing with other kids. But, if your child hits his or her head hard that you can hear a “thud” sound so loudly, particularly when he/she falls off the stairs or bumps hard on the wall, it might mean something more serious.

Does your child feel sleepy after a serious fall?

As parents, it is a cause of concern, because internal injuries might be present on the child without you knowing it. But what complicates the situation is that a child could feel sleepy after a major fall: this is another concern for parents, so it is important to assess on the child’s status immediately. But most importantly, it is not safe to put a baby to sleep after the incident, because this is considered as one of the danger signs of concussion.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a result of a severe blow to the head, which could alter the normal functioning of the brain. Concussion is a traumatic injury to the brain often accompanied by headaches, dizziness, as well as alterations in balance and coordination. But since in our case, the victim is a child, these symptoms cannot be communicated verbally to us. This means that as parents, it is our responsibility to watch out for signs of concussions, one of which is sleepiness.

Call emergency assistance if your child shows the following symptoms:

Aside from sleepiness, here are the other signs to watch out for.

–        The child becomes unconscious immediately after falling or several minutes after the incident.

–        The child’s skin and lips change in color.

–        The child vomits.

–        The child looks confused and drowsy.

–        The child’s pupils are dilated and unequal in size.

–        The child becomes distressed.

–        The child suffers from difficulty of breathing.

Important consideration: If the child is alert and very responsive, this might mean that the fall did not cause any serious problems to the brain. But even if the child does not show the following signs right after the bump or fall, it is necessary to observe him for a couple of days just to be sure.

The only concern of sleeping after a fall is if the child does this right after the incident. But there is actually no need to prevent him from sleeping or taking a nap, especially after a minor fall incident. As a precaution, though, try to wake the child up after a one to two hours to ensure that he is still responding normally to your calls.

Related Video about Concussions on Children:

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ-qbs715cE” width=”220″]

Sources:

“Is it safe to let my baby fall asleep after he’s bumped his head?” Baby Centre. Retrieved online on August 3, 2014 from http://www.babycentre.co.uk/x1048727/is-it-safe-to-let-my-baby-fall-asleep-after-hes-bumped-his-head

“Concussion.” Mayo Clinic. Retrieved online on August 3, 2014 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/concussion/basics/definition/con-20019272

Calling the Emergency Medical Services

emergency-medical-serviceAs a trained first aider, it may be necessary to ask the help of bystanders. The more help you get, the better. However, you have to make sure that the help you receive is well coordinated and does not add chaos to the situation.

When you respond in an emergency and you are not alone, you may ask someone to call the emergency medical services for you. Give specific instructions and provide information about the condition of the victim; for example, “Call 911. Inform them the victim has wounds and is bleeding profusely, and report back to me.” If the victim is unconscious, do not delay contacting emergency medical services. Unconsciousness may signal potential serious illness or injury. By sending someone to call for help, you can stay with victim and provide life-saving measures, especially if you have completed a first aid training course.

When instructing someone to do the call, be sure to give the EMS telephone number (usually 911) or the local emergency number in the community. Emergency telephone numbers are frequently displayed on payphones.

Here is some important information that the EMS dispatcher will most likely ask:

  1. The exact location of the accident, including the street name, city or town, and any landmark. Be ready to provide directions on how to get there if the place is not easy to locate.
  2. The name of the caller.
  3. The telephone number used by the caller.
  4. The nature of the emergency, such as motor vehicle accident, a fire, a fall, loss of consciousness, etc.
  5. How many victims involved.
  6. The condition or injuries of the victims – chest pain, bleeding, fractures, wounds, trouble breathing.
  7. The initial care or first aid given.

Instruct the caller not to hang up the telephone unless the dispatcher instructs him or her to do so. It is important for the dispatcher to get as much information so that the right help can be sent to the scene. In some cases, the dispatcher provides instructions on how to care for the victim while waiting for help to arrive. Tell the caller to report back after the call and to inform you of the dispatcher’s response.

If you are alone in the scene of accident, shout for help. Provide one minute of care and then get professional help immediately. Look for the nearest telephone and call EMS as quickly as possible. Get back and reassess the victim. If you know first aid, give necessary care.

If you shout for help but get no response and you are trained in providing first aid, such as controlling severe bleeding, then you may consider completing initial emergency care before leaving the victim to call for help. However, if the victim is unconscious, it is recommended that you call for help right away.

What you do during the first few minutes after an accident can have a huge impact on the outcome of the victim. It requires quick, critical thinking which is honed in first aid training courses.

Dealing with Falls among Seniors

With age comes wisdom but at the same time – physical changes. The ageing process can take toll on the different body systems and organs. While some of these changes are obvious, others are simply more subtle. Ageing can cause the bone to lose its density through the process of bone absorption. This gradual change in the bone composition can increase the risk of long term injuries, especially after falls.

Ageing and falls

Falls are all too frequent among seniors and are the most common causes of serious injuries and hospital admissions due to trauma. Studies show that one in three persons over 65 years suffer from a fall every year. Of these, Elderly man injured by fallingaround 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries that can make their lives difficult and even shorten their life expectancy. Every year, the healthcare industry spends millions for treating non-fatal fall injuries among seniors.

Fractures: The leading consequence of fall

For older people, fractures are the most common serious consequences of falls. As mentioned above, the bones constantly change through a process of “ remodelling”, which results in loss of bone tissue and mass. The loss of minerals in the bones makes it more fragile.

Some parts of the body that are most vulnerable to fractures after a fall include the hip area, arms and hand, and leg and ankle bones. Among these common bone fractures, hip fractures are attributed to more serious health problems as well as greater number of fatalities.

Seniors who have broken their hips often require hospital admission that may last for about 2 weeks. Moreover, around half of seniors hospitalized due to hip fracture will have some difficulties returning home and living independently.

Individuals that care for seniors, at the bare minimum, should enrol in first aid training through credible providers to ensure they can provide assistance to seniors during emergencies.

Contributory factors

There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of falls among older people. These factors include:

  • visual changes or impairment (e.g. cataracts, myopia or presbyopia);
  • problems with the nervous system (e.g. sciatica);
  • muscle and joint problems (e.g. arthritic conditions);
  • problems with balance and gait (e.g. Parkinson’s disease or post-stroke); and
  • taking medications that can cause sleep or disorders with balance.

Environmental hazards can also contribute in the incidence of fall. Some of the common environmental hazards include:

  • uneven or slipper floor surfaces;
  • tripping obstacles that include loose steps, rugs and mats, and pets;
  • poor lighting;
  • objects scattered on the steps or floor; and
  • unstable furniture.

Majority of fatal falls among seniors occur in the home. However, it can also occur in public spaces such as in cinemas, malls, shopping center as well as in health care institutions.

Preventing falls

While falls are very common among seniors, there are things you can do to prevent fatal injuries. Here are some tips on how falls can be prevented:

  • Regular physical exercise to improve mobility, flexibility and strength;
  • Avoiding use of medication that can affect consciousness;
  • Taking medications for underlying medical conditions; and
  • Modifying the environment such as removing potential tripping obstacles, installing anti-skid tape on floor and grab bars and ensuring adequate.

Learn More

To learn more about recognizing emergencies and providing first aid to individuals that are victims of falls enrol in workplace approved first aid courses (enrol here).

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