Not so long ago, the skills of parenthood were something either learned through the studying of books, or more likely from the skills passed down the generations, from caring mother to daughter.
Although we all have the best intentions for our children, relying on home remedies to treat childhood illnesses that have been passed down from grandparents can sometimes be an unwise decision! Better and safer remedies are now available and although some things have barely changed, we certainly would not wish to treat our children with most techniques from two generations ago.
Thanks to the internet, it’s now easier than ever to quickly research any given symptom that your child might be experiencing and to make a simple diagnosis from home. Unfortunately, that brings with it a whole set of new problems, including finding out just enough information to frighten yourself! Firstly, there is so much information out there, how on earth can you sort out the good advice from the bad? Can you really rely upon the source of the information that you’ve been provided with?
Secondly, you must consider the possibility that despite your best efforts, your home diagnosis could be badly wrong. If you are genuinely concerned about your baby or child, then the best course of action is to book an appointment with your child’s GP as soon as possible. In the case of an emergency, or if you believe your child may be suffering from a severe illness or injury, then you must call 999 for emergency help.
If you are using the internet to research the symptoms your child is suffering, then make sure you check more than one source so that you can gain a more accurate picture of the diagnosis. This still may not be enough, but it will help to not rely upon just one website.
However, when carrying out your research, be very careful about following the advice of non-professionals. It is very tempting to ‘ask the community’ for help when faced with a particular problem, such as a forum, message board or mailing list. But the opinions of one individual who replies to your question may be heavily distorted from a professionally recognised diagnosis or solution.
Ultimately you’ll need to make a judgement about how you feel about the situation to decide how much you’ll need to research. As the primary carer of this child, with regard to their health the general rule is if you are worried, seek professional medical help. Remember that even medical professionals who have trained for years to reach the level of skills they possess often have to refer to other specialists; paramedics will treat a casualty but will usually then have to transport them to hospital for further assessment; doctors may suggest a diagnosis but also run blood tests or refer a patient to a specialist or senior consultant. It is no shame at all for a parent to accept that we don’t know everything!
All of this is just another good reason why being prepared with First Aid knowledge can give you a solid foundation upon which to help protect your child from a whole range of potential problems. It may be that in addition to First Aid your child needs further medical help – but that’s why we call it First Aid! It is the initial, simple yet life-saving techniques that can make all the difference to how quickly and how well the child will recover from their condition.