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First Aid for Children

Many of the same tools and techniques used for adult wilderness medicine apply to children as well, but there are several differences that are important to understand and be prepared for if you plan to travel or go on adventures with kids. The easiest way to remember how to handle emergencies and first aid situations with kids is to think about how they differ from adults.


- Size: First of all, they are smaller. If they aren’t smaller, then they can be treated as an adult. Consider buying supplies that will suit their needs. Smaller bandages, nail clippers, sam splits, and adjustable neck stabilizers will come in handy during an emergency or in the case of a little ouch.


- Weight: Medicine should be given to children according to their weight. Many drugs come in children’s versions with smaller portions and many times in a liquid form.


- Allergies: Kids are allergic to all sorts of things these days and there are many theories as to why, but you don’t want to run into any problems in the wilderness. Find out what, if anything, they are allergic to and any time you start doling out new medications, watch them for signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction or discomfort.


- CPR and rescue breathing: It’s different for kids and infants. Learn it, know it and practice it before you take children on any adventure.


Kids get injured easily and often. Most of the time it’s just a scrape on the knee or a bruised ankle, but sometimes it’s more of a crisis situation than that. An important lesson to teach children is to be aware of trying to stay healthy in the wilderness. A broken leg means a trip to the hospital at home, but it means the end of a trip, and often a long evacuation, when you are out in the woods.


A few other notes for traveling and adventuring with kids:

-Always carry a thermometer

-Teach kids about foot care. It’s one of the most important lessons they can learn for wilderness travel. If they are old enough and coordinated enough, let them tend to their own blisters and hotspots with some supervision.

-Liquid medications are almost always easier for kids than pills

-Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Behavior changes, balance problem, heat stroke, fatigue, can all be related to dehydration. Play hydration games if they don’t want to drink water on their own.

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