Every parent has heard it—the telltale “thump” followed by a second of silence, then the sad fuss of a toddler whose new gross motor skills are, well, still developing.
Perhaps the most joyous part of being around kids is watching them grow and change. Of course, the downside is having a front-row seat to all the mishaps that come with the territory. That’s why it’s wise to keep a number of natural remedies for the little falls, cuts, and bruises that happen so often.
First, take a look at the American Association of Pediatrics’ (AAP) basic first-aid guidelines, and contact your own pediatrician to confirm whether your child’s routine incident is treatable at home or requires medical attention. Once you’re confident the boo-boo really is minor, try these natural remedies to ease pain and get your little adventurer back on his or her feet.
Wet a wash cloth and, while it’s still wet, place it in the freezer so you’re prepared with something cold to soothe the situation. For a dry compress, chill down your homemade hand-warmers instead by placing them in the freezer for quicker treatment and milder bruises. The rice filling of a hand-warmer holds a chill just as well as it does heat, and nixes the threat of an ice burn on the skin over long-term compression.
As you comfort your child, the irritation should dissipate just enough for you to sense his or her emotional readiness for what’s next. Kids as young as a year old will want to “tell you all about” what happened, so pull back from cuddling and make eye contact as they vent their experience. Even those without a big vocabulary can connect verbally, and are eager to do so if you’re eager to listen. Point to the offending piece of furniture, and ask, “Did that coffee table do this to you?” Often the connection you make alone will calm your little one down and serve to ease the pain.
Facialists use cucumber because of its reputation for having anti-inflammatory effects, and you can use it for the same when someone gets hurt. Keep a cucumber in the fridge and slice up a piece for any owie that shows mild swelling. Apply for a minute or two, and when the cucumber slice gets warm, just slice and apply a new piece.
Natural homeopathy gets used all the time in our home, and it can at yours too. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, pediatric application of arnica in topical gel, ointment, or cream formulas can be used to care for sore muscles, bruises, and other discomfort brought on by injuries or overexertion. Keep a bottle on every floor of your house so you’re never hurt without it.
Oxygen is crucial to the immune system’s response to little injuries. Not to mention breathing deeply can calm children and adults alike. Once your child is safe and relaxed, have them blow bubbles for an age-appropriate breathing exercise, similar to the paper-bag therapy that anxious passengers might use on an airplane.
Homemade Healing Salve
Because skin is the body’s primary barrier against environment-based intruders, keep a homemade healing salve in the fridge for injuries that may need extra attention. When using a few natural ingredients, I can whip up a batch in minutes. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1/2 cup hemp seed oil
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon of raw, local honey
- 12 drops tea tree essential oil
- 6 drops jasmine absolute oil
Each ingredient deserves an in-depth study of its own, as they’re all so beneficial to your overall wellness. In short, unprocessed honey is a powerhouse of antibacterial enzymes and antioxidants, whereas tea tree oil offers antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties to boot. Best of all, hemp seed oil can soothe the skin following common abrasions. University of Arizona College of Medicine professor Andrew Weil calls it “the gift of an edible oil with superior nutritional and therapeutic properties.” Hemp seed oil, specifically, “simulates growth of hair and nails, improves the health of the skin, and can reduce inflammation.”
To make this owie ointment at home, melt the coconut oil over low heat. This should take less than a minute; coconut oil only needs to achieve a mild 76 degrees Fahrenheit to soften into its liquid form.
Hemp seed is very sensitive to heat, so it’s important to let the coconut oil cool almost completely before adding the hemp seed oil next. Once cool (but still liquid), add all your remaining ingredients and stir. Pour into a glass jar and pop it in the fridge for safe storage.
If a bruise or bump is bleeding or any other symptoms appear, don’t chance it—call the doctor. Most pediatricians have an on-call nurse who can advise you on what to do next. In all other cases, how do you comfort kids when they encounter a misadventure? Leave your tips below, or tweet a picture to @TomsofMaine.
Image source: Bethany Johnson
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.