Triage for parents

It has come to our attention here at the beehive-like corporate headquarters of The Home Front that you, the unwashed public, know as much about first aid as your average honeydew.

You may feel confident that you could handle any emergency, but how much do you really know? For example, could you adequately perform STP or the Heineken Maneuver if a loved one's life was in danger?

Of course you couldn't. You'd be crying and running around like the proverbial headless poultry. Serious emergencies are nothing to fool around with, and they're the reason we put up with telemarketers calling us 17 times a day. For real emergencies, we have phones. We dial 911 and professional live-saving types come running.

No, first aid is not for amateurs. But then, most household emergencies don't require a professional. Most fall into the category of (and we don't want to get too technical here): "Owies."

Parents by necessity become household doctors, performing triage on burns and bites and scrapes and bruises several times a day. By the time our children are grown, we have spent as much time taking temperatures as your average veterinarian.

But it takes a while for parents to learn how to make the treatment age-appropriate. When ministering to scrapes and other minor wounds, emotional comfort is as important as actual physical pain relief. Some parents overdo it. Others, especially those with older children, sometimes require actual pools of blood to make them get up off the couch.

What parents need are standardized triage procedures, so they'll know how to react when faced with minor injuries among children of all ages. We here at the Home Front propose the following:

Step 1 -- Parent should panic.
Step 2 -- Run around crazily.
Step 3 -- Take deep breaths and get a grip on yourself. Child will be screaming until red in face, so don't try to quiet him yet. Steel yourself and examine wound.
Step 4 -- Feel faint.
Step 5 -- More deep breaths. Tell anyone who'll listen, "It will be all right. It will be all right."
Step 6 -- Get out handy first aid kit. Carefully clean wound while child howls. Apply the following: spray-on sunburn reliever, antiseptic, petroleum jelly, mercurochrome, iodine, aloe vera, ginseng, diaper cream and various ointments.
Step 7 -- Bandage wound.
Step 8 -- Give wound several kisses.
Step 9 -- Comfort child. Bribe with cookies until quietly hiccuping. (The child, not you.)

Step 1 -- Parent should panic.
Step 2 -- Run around crazily.
Step 3 -- Shush child until he stops squirming and screaming and lets you take a look.
Step 4 -- Say, "Aw, that's not so bad."
Step 5 -- Find first aid supplies. Carefully clean wound while child howls.
Step 6 -- Bandage wound.
Step 7 -- Give the wound several kisses.
Step 8 -- Comfort child. Bribe with ice cream until quiet.

Step 1 -- Sigh heavily and say, "Not again."
Step 2 -- Grunt up off the sofa and trot around crazily.
Step 3 -- Chase child until he'll hold still long enough to let you look.
Step 4 -- Examine wound. Say, "Is that what all the caterwauling's about? That's nothing."
Step 5 -- Tell child, "We have bandages somewhere. Go look for them."
Step 6 -- Assuming child returns, give wound a kiss.
Step 7 -- Bribe with Pokemon cards. Return to sofa.

Step 1 -- Parent should wake up.
Step 2 -- Walk around crazily until fully awake.
Step 3 -- Make child limp to where parent is waiting.
Step 4 -- Examine wound. Say, "Aw, I've had worse than that on my eyeball."
Step 5 -- Blow wound a kiss.
Step 6 -- To make child be quiet, bribe with money.

Step 1 -- Parent should open one eye.
Step 2 -- Grunt knowingly. Say, "Walk it off."
Step 3 -- Pucker up, knowing child will respond, "Gross! Haven't you ever heard of germs?"
Step 4 -- Bribe with car keys.
Step 5 -- Close eye.

No comments: