Dealing With Injury: When The Nanny Kids Get Hurt On Your Watch

How To Calmly Take Charge + Save The Day



photo credit to flickr creative commons


Accidents happen, and with adventurous kids that often act first and consider consequences later, missteps are practically a guarantee.  One of the most true testaments to your skills as a nanny or private educator is how you react in times of stress + potential physical harm.  We wanted to give you some guidelines to assist you throughout these moments of chaos, and give you a roadmap to get from an out-of-control disaster to a well-managed accident with minimal fall out.


photo credit to flickr creative commons


So first things first: before taking responsibility for your nanny charges, you should have a written agreement with the parents regarding first aid. Which medications they’re comfortable with you administering, the pediatrician’s number, which ER they’d want you to take the kids to, etc. Once you find yourself in an emergency situation, you should already have a plan of action that has been mutually agreed upon with the parents. In the unfortunate event that you then find that your nanny kids are in a dangerous situation, your natural instinct will be to run towards them immediately. To truly make a difference in de-escalating the situation and potentially saving your nanny kids, yourself, and anyone else who may be impacted: make sure the entire area is safe enough for you to enter. You will not be saving anyone if you rush into a smoke-filled building for example, and the entryway crumbles, blocking you inside.  So once you are certain that the structure or physical situation is such that you are safe to enter, you’re ready to follow our roadmap to recovery.


photo credit to flickr creative commons

Stocking Your Nanny First Aid Kit:

  1. Antibiotic cream like Neosporin, Triple Antibiotic Treatment, etc.
  2. Hand sanitizer gel
  3. Band Aid’s of different sizes
  4. Anti-itch cream like Cortizone-10
  5. Tiny tweezers
  6. Super glue
  7. Bug spray
  8. Sunscreen
  9. Butterfly closures
  10. Ice pack
  11. Hydrogen peroxide
  12. Benadryl or another antihistamine (for allergic reaction)
  13. Oral/axillary thermometer
  14. Fever-reducing OTC medicine like Tylenol or Ibuprofen
  15. Aloe + gauze for 1st or 2nd-degree burns

Handling Minor Cuts + Scrapes via The Mayo Clinic:

Minor cuts and scrapes usually don’t require a trip to the emergency room. These guidelines can help you care for such wounds:

  1. Wash your hands. This helps avoid infection. Also put on disposable protective gloves if they’re available.
  2. Stop the bleeding. Minor cuts and scrapes usually stop bleeding on their own. If not, apply gentle pressure with a sterile bandage or clean cloth and elevate the wound.
  3. Clean the wound. Use clear water to rinse the wound. Also clean around the wound with soap and a washcloth. Keep soap out of the wound, as it can cause irritation. If dirt or debris remains in the wound after washing, use tweezers cleaned with alcohol to remove the particles. If debris still remains, see your doctor. Thorough cleaning reduces the risk of infection and tetanus. There’s no need to use hydrogen peroxide, iodine or an iodine-containing cleanser, which can be irritating to tissue already injured.
  4. Apply an antibiotic. Apply a thin layer of an antibiotic cream or ointment (Neosporin, Polysporin) to help keep the surface moist. These products don’t make the wound heal faster. But they can discourage infection and help the body’s natural healing process. Certain ingredients in some ointments can cause a mild rash in some people. If a rash appears, stop using the ointment.
  5. Cover the wound. Bandages can help keep the wound clean and keep harmful bacteria out. If the injury is just a minor scrape, or scratch, leave it uncovered.
  6. Change the dressing. Do this at least once a day or whenever the bandage becomes wet or dirty. If the injured person is allergic to the adhesive in tapes and bandages, switch to adhesive-free dressings or sterile gauze held in place with paper tape, rolled gauze or a loosely applied elastic bandage. These supplies generally are available at pharmacies.
  7. Get stitches for deep wounds. This is something you’ll need written permission from the guardians, or the parents to be present at the Emergency Room.  A deep — all the way through the skin — gaping or jagged wound with exposed fat or muscle will need stitches. Adhesive strips or butterfly tape may hold a minor cut together, but if you can’t easily close the wound, see your doctor as soon as possible. Proper closure within a few hours minimizes scarring and reduces the risk of infection.
  8. Watch for signs of infection. See your doctor if the wound isn’t healing or you notice any redness, increasing pain, drainage, warmth or swelling.
  9. Get a tetanus shot. Any immunizations require parental presence or written guardian permission prior to being administered. If the nanny kid hasn’t had a tetanus shot in the past five years and the wound is deep or dirty, he or she may need a booster shot, as soon as possible, but this is up to their parents.

For More Severe Injuries:

  1. Remove the nanny child from any immediate threat to their safety
  2. Call for back-up: make sure someone stays with the child, call 911 in the US etc (and save the emergency number in your phone when traveling to other countries,) never leave the child during chaos without another pair of capable, adult hands
  3. Secure all other nanny children to keep another similar accident from occurring
  4. Apply pressure to any bleeding areas and raise injury above heart-level
  5. Secure their neck/spinal reqion as best as possible and do not move their head or neck if at all possible
  6. Once your nanny charges are no longer in danger, they’ve been assessed by medical professionals or are in the process of being seen in an ER, call the parents immediately and fill them in on the entire situation. Make a point of going to a quiet room where you can speak in soothing tones to calm the parents during what will likely be their biggest fear. You want to encourage them that the nanny kids are okay, that they’re being cared for by the most qualified and capable people, and that you are acting as a liaison for the parent , doing and saying all of the the things they would do if there were physically present. Remember, during such a frightening phone call, a parental mind is likely to wander to worst-case-scenarios, so don’t speak slowly as you inform them of the situation, but do continue to remind them of the physical safety of their children, the professionals that are treating them, and that the situation is under control. When you call the parents, have all the details of where they can reach the children, the physicians names, etc. and provide them with all of the relevent details. You will want to stay with the children until the parents arrive or give other instructions.


photo credit to flickr creative commons



photo credit to flickr creative commons


photo credit to flickr creative commons



Planning for the unforeseen is a huge part of caring for children,  but having a plan in place for even the scariest possibilities like physical bumps + bruises, allows you to step in and save the day as usual.






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