Top 5 injuries to watch out for with your little ones

David Foley, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Medical Director of Affidea ExpressCare Minor Injuries & Illnesses Walk-In Clinic at Tallaght Cross East in Dublin, offers tips and advice for September’s continued run of great weather. A second ExpressCare is open in The Elysian in Cork.

1. Falls / Limb Injuries

Falls are the most common cause of non-life-threatening injuries in children and young adults. This age group have a decreased realisation of risk and an enthusiasm for exploration, which means waiting rooms are full of young people with abrasions, lacerations and injured bones. Injury prevention through proper education and attention to safety equipment, such as cycling helmets and car seats, can help to reduce the more serious type of head injuries in road traffic accidents.

2. Foreign Body Insertions

The natural curiosity of toddlers can cause them to insert small objects in their nose or ears. Often unknown to parents, these foreign insertions can come to light when the doctor is investigating possible infection or discharge from the ears or nose of these young patients. It can prove quite a challenge to remove objects, particularly given the natural reluctance of the toddler to comply with the examination.

3. Accidental Ingestions

A potentially more serious downside of this curiosity is the oral ingestion of objects like small coins or batteries. Button batteries in particular can cause burns to the gastrointestinal tract and lead to serious abdominal complications. Any suspicions of ingestion should prompt immediate treatment.

4. Drowning

With our Indian summer continuing during back to school and many families with young children delaying their holidays until September, with good weather comes the dangers of an increased risk of drowning from swimming in unfamiliar places or unaccompanied. Drowning is the leading cause of fatal injury in the toddler age group and public education and vigilance remain the backbone of prevention. Watersafety.ie is an excellent resource for advice and practical interventions, which can help increase awareness of the dangers of water and how we can reduce them.

5. Burns

Burns and scalds from hot liquids are the most common cause of burns in toddlers and the effects can be fatal. Immediate application of cold water to the affected area will help reduce the extent of the thermal injury, while follow up with a doctor to ensure appropriate dressings and wound care is important. Flame injury affects the older age groups and, again, vigilance and education have a large role to play in mitigating the frequency of these types of injuries.

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