3 steps to dealing with deep wounds

Kinderling News & Features

We know. Yuck. Who wants to think about deep wounds? But it’s good to be prepared, right?

As an ex-emergency ward nurse, CPR KidsSarah Hunstead has seen everything. She gives three steps of action so you’re prepared for an accident. 

Listen to Sarah on Kinderling Conversation:

 1. Stop the bleeding 

“Our priority is to stop the bleeding first of all,” says Sarah. 

Grab whatever you have around you at the time, preferably some sort of cloth that is as clean as possible. 

“Put firm, direct pressure over the top of the wound for a minimum of five minutes,” she recommends. “Lift off the cloth after that period of time and have a look. If it is still bleeding, reapply that firm pressure. “ 

Often the chin and forehead are the affected areas, the high impact zones that will be whacked when kids fall over and split the skin. 

“If there’s something embedded in there, don’t pull it out,” says Sarah. Put pressure around the wound instead before seeking medical help. 

2. Stay calm 

Often kids can be so distressed that they won’t let you near the wound. In this situation, keep yourself calm, because they will end up mirroring what you’re doing. 

Sarah says to think; “What distraction can I use in this instant to be able to reassure them?” 

Talk in a nice, calming voice and move their attention away, so that you can do what you need to.

3. Size up the wound

After a few minutes you might be confident it’s a superficial wound, if it has stopped bleeding, you can’t see fat or muscle and the edges are together. In this case, it’s probably okay. If unsure, Sarah recommends getting a second opinion.

Sarah does note, “Often the size of the wound can be deceiving.” Sometimes you know a gash will need stitches straight away. However, small wounds can be deep. You can’t know what underlying structures have been injured, such as tendons or nerves, so it’s best to have that looked at, particularly if it’s still bleeding after 10 minutes of pressure. 

“If the wound is spurting blood, like it has a pulse, sometimes that can mean there’s damage to maybe one of the arteries under there – that is a medical emergency.”

If you can’t transport your child safely to a hospital, with a big wound that is bleeding a lot will require an ambulance.