The View Up Here

Random scribblings about kites, photography, machining, and anything else

First Aid 101

Posted by Tom Benedict on 06/12/2010

I did a fair bit of photography over the weekend.  Saturday I did aerial photography over a swim meet, which was really cool.  Sunday I did some private photography at a school function, and later hauled all my gear down to Hapuna Beach to play around.  I flew three of my five kites, but never flew a camera.  There just wasn’t enough wind.  But the one I was looking forward to was the annual parade in Waimea where all the trucking companies on the island deck out their trucks with lights and decorations, and cruise through town.  It’s the only parade I know of that consists almost entirely of big rig tractors and dump trucks.

We got there a little late, but there was a prime spot wide open.  There was too much wind to use a pole rig, and I was getting exposure times of 10+ seconds anyway.  But lots of opportunities for nighttime blur photography with tons of lights.  Yay!  I set up my tripod and camera and got ready.  The kids  were looking forward to it, too, so I expected to have a grand time all ’round.

Two minutes after they announced the parade had started, I hear screaming.  Really familiar screaming.  Out of the darkness my son comes stumbling up with his hand on his head.  Turns out he’d been playing tag in the dark and ran straight into a rock wall, head-first.

It’s at times like these that you actually appreciate having a cell phone.  I gave my wife the high sign, threw my camera gear in my pockets, and led my son toward the car.  They block off the streets for several blocks for the parade, I was doubly thankful my wife had insisted we park on open streets on the side that leads to our house!

Head injuries can be really nasty, so I started assessing my son’s level of consciousness.  He passed with flying colors, and was even walking straight by the time we reached the car.  I keep a first aid kit in all our cars and in my KAP bag, so I grabbed the one out of my wife’s trunk.  In addition to the normal stuff I keep a flashlight in all our first aid kits for times like these.  Good pupil response, and I could finally take a look at his head.  Scrooched up, but nothing bad.  A quick skull check showed no soft spots, no swelling, and no tenderness except at the wound site, which is understandable.  I knew in a couple of minutes he’d be fine.

But what really impressed me was that my son never took his hand off his head until I asked him to.  Even as he was stumbling across the grass toward me, right after hitting his head, he had his hoodie clamped to his head as a compress.  First aid 101:  Apply pressure to the wound to stop bleeding.  And head wounds bleed like nuts, so it was the right thing to do.

I complimented him on his quick action and perseverance.  Most people will take their hand off to check if the bleeding has stopped.  Don’t!  That’s a great way to tear a forming scab.  Keep pressure on for at least five minutes, and don’t remove any dressings once they’re on.  In the case of his hoodie it wasn’t glued to his head yet, so we were able to remove it without risking damage to a forming scab.  In the end I gave him a thorough going over, but he’s the one who got the bleeding under control.

The best part was when he saw his hoodie, which was by then covered with blood.  He started bawling, and asked, “Are we going to have to throw it away?”  I assured him we wouldn’t.  When we got home I started a load of laundry with cold water and OxyClean, and told him in the morning it would be as good as new.  He woke up early the next day and started folding laundry.  Lo and behold, there was his favorite hoodie clean and stain free.  Happy kid once more.

I think it’s a really good idea to teach kids the basics of first aid as well as learning it yourself, as a parent.  Nine times out of ten, the injuries a kid gets happen while they’re out having fun and playing with other kids.  I don’t know how many times I hurt myself as a kid, and really didn’t have a clue what to do about it.  It was nice to see that even right after bashing his head into a wall, my son responded correctly and self-administered first aid.  I sleep easier at night knowing he knows what to do.

– Tom

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