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3-7. Approaching the Injured or Sick Child

Again, children in different age groups will need to be approached a little differently. Look at the following:

a. Infants. Allow the mother maximum contact with her infant at the scene of the injury and while the infant is being transferred to a medical treatment facility.

b. Child 1 Year to 3 Years of Age.

(1) This child is very dependent on his mother. DO NOT separate the child from his mother if at all possible.

(2) Allow the child to cry.

(3) Explain the procedures you will do to the child. Explain in very simple terms that he can understand.

(4) Do not overload the child with an explanation of events that will occur in the future. These events may be outside his sense of time and serve only to frighten him.

c. The Preschooler: The 3 to 5 Year Old.

(1) This child lives in a world of many fears: fear of monsters, fear of aggression, fear of retribution, etc.

(2) The child has some awareness and fear of death.

(3) This is the age when a child most fears the mutilation of his body.

(4) The preschooler tends to view illness and injury as punishment for his own aggressive feelings.

(5) He may have already developed the concept that medical personnel are associated with a variety of unpleasant experiences.

(6) Be very tactful and patient with children in this age range.

(7) Cover bleeding injuries rapidly after assuring this child that none of his limbs or vital components are missing.

(8) Explain what you are doing. Reassure the child frequently that everything is all right.

(9) If possible, allow the child to bring one of his cherished belongings with him.

(10) Tell the child what he can expect at the hospital, but do not overwhelm

(11) Reassure the preschooler that it is all right to cry or complain.

d. The School Age Child.

(1) Still the school age child's anxieties about pain, death, strangers, and separation from parents. Reassure the child by telling him what you are going to do. Also, tell him that he may feel some discomfort and pain.

(2) A school age child has an increased ability to communicate with adults. This is a help in dealing with this child's fears. You may ask him what he is afraid of and respond to his concerns.

(3) You may be able to use this child's natural curiosity to help him deal with events.

(4) This child likes to be treated with respect and wants adults to be honest with him.

(5) Try to make the school age child a partner in the examination and treatment process. Do this by explaining each procedure to him in detail.

(6) Information tends to reassure a school-aged child rather than frighten him.

(7) Prepare this child for what he will encounter.

(8) Allow this child's questions to guide you in the topics of concern.

e. The Adolescent.

(1) An adolescent lives in a period of unstable self-esteem. He always worries about imagined body defects.

(2) The normal fears he feels about his appearance are made worse by illness or injury.

(3) The adolescent is most likely concerned about how his current injury or illness will affect him.

(4) An adolescent needs the support you give a sick child, but at the same time, he wants to be certain that you are treating him like an adult.

(5) Reassure the adolescent, as necessary, but be factual. Question him in the same manner you would question an adult.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

Copyright   SweetHaven Publishing Services
All Rights Reserved

Revised: June 06, 2015