Myth – Teachers, volunteers and carers should not put plasters on children’s cuts.
Many teachers, volunteers and carers refuse to put plasters on children’s cuts, believing that they are following the health and safety guidelines of the HSE. However, this ‘ban on plasters’ is actually nothing but a myth, as the HSE has never implemented such a ruling.
As well as helping wounds to stay clean, plasters can offer children comfort when they’ve had an accident and prevent the spread of blood to others. There’s absolutely no reason why a responsible adult shouldn’t apply a plaster to a child when necessary!
Below, we provide advice on the best way to treat minor cuts and grazes;
The area around the wound should be cleaned with warm water and soap. The wound itself should then be cleaned with clean water or an antiseptic wipe (non-alcohol based). A single wipe should be used for each wipe of the wound, so as not to reintroduce any dirt back into it (i.e a wipe per wipe).
Whilst some children do suffer allergic reactions to plasters, occurrences are rare. If you are aware that the casualty has an allergy to common plasters, then you should use the hypoallergenic variety or a non-adherent pad such as Melolin with hypoallergenic tape.
If the blood seeps through the plaster, or it becomes dirty, it should be changed immediately. Otherwise, change the plaster every two hours to keep the wound dry and free of sweat which encourages the growth of bacteria.
If the casualty is involved in any food handling, the plaster should be of any bright identifiable colour such as blue.
If the wound becomes red, painful or swollen, or red lines start to track away from it, then it is becoming infected and medical advice should be sought immediately.
We hope that you find these tips useful next time you’re required to treat a minor cut or graze. As adults, we have a duty of care to children and there’s no reason to allow an unfounded rumour to prevent us from offering the best possible treatment when accidents occur.