Years ago, my grandmother apparently cured her five children’s whooping cough by using natural Ayurvedic remedies. When we were kids and she was visiting us, Nani was the ‘go-to’ person for everything from upset tummies to cuts, bruises and falls. And as far as I remember, her remedies usually worked. According to my mother, “in those days, in her generation, people knew.”
Now if you ask me, these days most of us don’t know. And even if we do, it feels safer applying a medicine instead of a turmeric powder and mustard oil mix on a burn. What if the home remedy doesn’t work? And what is the guarantee that the turmeric powder isn’t from an adulterated lot?
Doctors seem to think differently. Dr Praveen Venkatagiri, consultant neonatologist and pediatrician, thinks that any remedy that is scientifically proven (like honey for cough) is alright.
His advice however is that parents get their basics of first aid right. In fact, Dr Venkatagiri is holding a First Aid course in July for parents and carers thinks that a basic course may help most. “Small accidents are very common among children and parents often wonder what to do. Even if they have the information, it is important to know where they got the information from and whether it is the correct one.”
For instance, Dr Venkatagiri mentions how people wrongly throw water or make the child sit, if she/he is having a fit. “Never do that,” he warns.
“Or for that matter, something like a fall. Parents should watch out for the following: What kind of height the child fell from (anything above 1 metre could be worrying); the kind of surface the child landed on; whether the child is crying and screaming continuously (good sign); whether the child is silent and dull or vomiting (may signal loss of consciousness and serious problems and needs to be attended to immediately.)”
He suggests that when in doubt, parents rush the child to a hospital emergency room, instead of the doctor’s clinic as clinics do not come best-equipped always.
Mother of two and former teacher Moya Caddy, a British woman who lives in Bangalore, has had basic first aid training in England and thinks that all parents should have basic first aid knowledge, which includes what to do in case of choking, burns, cuts and wounds and the basics of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
Sarita John, mother of a five-year-old, is a little hesitant. “No harm in learning a skill like CPR but such things are best left to medical professionals. I’m a working mother and my daughter goes to daycare, so perhaps this is a training that the daycare staff should have,” she raises a point.
Working moms like Nina Bual, an entrepreneur, believes in empowering their child’s caregiver. “My nanny had attended a first aid course and it made her confident. I had given them an opportunity to learn a skill and she was empowered by the knowledge.” Bual, who runs a wellness spa and has had first aid training herself, feels that working mothers like her would benefit from not just empowering themselves with the knowledge of basic first aid but also by giving their nannies a chance to learn as they often get blamed if something happens to the child.”