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In the Czech Republic, injuries are the most common source of death in children over the age of one. According to available statistics, the incidence rate is truly quite high. Unfortunately, most of the injuries that occurred could have been prevented early enough.
When an injury occurs, one of the most important things to note is whether the child is unconscious and if so, for how long. It is always important to notice the mechanism of the injury (of course this is not always possible) – whether the child fell on the head, on its back, on its side etc. If it is a very small child, it is essential to watch how he/she behaves immediately following the injury – if he/she cried immediately, or only after a couple of minutes following the injury itself or if it was in shock. It is also advised the child be watched for a further 48 hours and even at night – waking the child up every 3-4 hours for a short while to make sure everything is well. With small children in particular, pay attention to see if the child is not tired or sleepy, or aggravated, cries more, angrier or he/she seems subdued, withered, apathetic or vomits.
Please keep in mind that if a child is unconscious even for a short period of time, then it is necessary to visit a doctor immediately. Do not postpone a visit to the pediatrician if you notice any visible changes in behavior following an injury.
Prevention of injuries
Prevention is very important. Most injuries occur at home, in part due to the fact that children spend the greatest amount of time at home. In particular, the injuries include scalds and burns which are (unfortunately) plentiful in occurrence. The lead position in injuries is represented by scalds – usually caused by a hot liquid, which the child accidentally pours over itself. In general, all scalds and burns should be cooled and immediate medical assistance sought. In general, the smaller the child, the more urgent the case.
Injuries also occur in sports, where protective gear can play an important role. The priority in any sport is protecting the head at all times.
Should we find that a child drank a chemical or has eaten an unknown or dangerous substance, it is first best to call a toxicological center (contacts and information available here), where you will receive immediate advice on how to proceed. Under no circumstance should you initiate vomiting or have the child drink something without the consultation of a toxicological center. In the case of emergencies, please call an emergency instead.
This text was prepared by lead pediatrician of Canadian Medical Care, MUDr. Silvie Knoppová.
To book a visit with our pediatrician or breast-feeding adviser, contact our call center at +420 235 360 133.