Dealing with Children’s Emergency in School
June 28, 2019
Dr Adesewa Ademola shares tips on how common children’s emergency conditions can be managed in schools.
Just like that, children’s emergencies can suddenly happen causing immense pain and distress.
Now, children have so much to do in their day-to-day schedule – playing, learning and exploring.
Most of the time, they are usually doing so happily and energetically.
While parents and caregivers try to protect children from danger most of the time, they can’t always be there to watch over them.
Statistics show that 10 to 25 % of injuries in children occur in schools.
So, the best way to deal with such emergencies is to anticipate and be prepared.
This is one of the core elements now considered in schools.
Now, a key component of preparedness is the availability of medical personnel in schools.
And here are some examples of emergencies that may easily occur in schools:
The starting point for dealing with children’s emergencies is knowing the medical history of every child – in advance.
Every school should initiate an “Individual healthcare plan (IHP)”, which is:
It also helps to ensure that the appropriate basic medication each child may require is quick to hand.
This could be an inhaler for asthmatics or an EpiPen for severe allergy reactions.
Staff should be trained – including the teachers and teaching support staff – on basic health care and first aid for common scenarios; and how to access help and support from medical staff and an adequately equipped medical facility in the case of an emergency.
Below are some simple guidelines for managing specific conditions (with fictional examples given):
Ada is a
What to do: –
Outside, the kids are so excited, it is break time.
Toyin is playing on the metallic slide and suddenly gets a cut.
It is bleeding profusely, and the nurse is called.
What to do:-
Seek urgent professional help:
Some people often do not know all the food they are allergic to until they eat it.
Chika, a 7-year-old boy, is allergic to nuts and avoids them even when offered.
Daniel, Chika’s friend, offered him part of his meal which contains egg.
Chika isn’t aware of an egg allergy because he doesn’t eat them at home.
5 minutes after eating the meal, he develops a swollen lip and tongue. The nurse is called.
Luckily, Chika has an auto-injector pen containing adrenaline for an allergic reaction.
The nurse administers quickly the injection, and he gets better.
Other food allergy symptoms include an Itchy sensation in the mouth, throat or ears, raised, itchy red rash and vomiting.
Jennifer is an 8-year-old girl in the school restaurant chatting with her friends while eating.
But suddenly, she begins to cough continuously, is unable to speak, and holding her throat. The nurse is called.
What to do: –
The Heimlich manoeuvre (Abdominal Thrust) can be used in children aged from 1 year and in adults.
Be watchful and call the ambulance if Jennifer goes unconscious or becomes unresponsive.
Firstly, the appropriate thing to do in an event of a fire is to evacuate all the children to the pre-arranged assembly point.
This is both an adult and children’s emergency, and the best practice is to have a well-defined plan to maintain everyone’s safety.
In such instances, Do not stop to collect their belongings.
This is when a child has accidentally ingested a toxic or poisonous substance.
You may be surprised to learn that toxic materials are quite commonly available.
Common examples include
Consequently, if the child becomes unconscious and has a cardiac arrest, start CPR immediately.
Sprains are commonly caused by falls or other injuries that could happen in schools. So, they involve injury to parts of the body such as the back, chest or arms and legs, affecting the ‘soft tissues’; ie, there are no injuries to the bones.
Now, in the care of sprains, remember P.R.I.C.E.:
If the child cannot bear weight on the injured area (in the case of the leg); or use the arm in usual activities, suspect a fracture and arrange for them to be urgently taken to the health facility.
Yes, it is difficult to prevent all emergencies.
But with proper planning, it may be possible to handle most of the quickly, avoiding the worst possible scenarios.
Have you other tips on minimising accidents and emergencies at school? Share in the comments.
Edited by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on various health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality healthcare. The advice in our material is not meant to replace a qualified healthcare practitioner’s management of your specific condition.
To discuss your condition, don’t hesitate to contact a health practitioner or reach us directly.
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