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First Aid Treatment of Sprains and Strains: RICE: Back to Articles
by Lauren Feder, M.D.

Excerpt from Natural Baby and Childcare

 

Care and Treatment

Prevention

 Accidents happen, but parents can cut down on the frequency and seriousness of injuries by taking preventative measures.  Make sure that your child wears a helmet (and protective pads when needed) when bicycling, skateboarding, snowboarding, and skiing.  Protective gear functions most importantly to minimize the chance of head trauma, but it also helps to stabilize joints (such as at the knees and elbows), lowering the risk of strains and sprains.

 

First Aid Treatment

R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) is basic first aid for sprains, strains, and bruises. 

  • Rest. Have your child rest after an injury. Avoid all activity that causes pain.
  • Ice. Apply an ice pack (or a pack of frozen peas) to the injured area. Ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time repeating every 2 to 3 hours as needed. For children who find it difficult to sit still for the ice to be kept in place, try for 5 minutes at one time. Use a towel to prevent ice burn and avoid heat for the first 36 to 48 hours after injury.
  • Compression. Use compression for visible swelling. Elastic bandages work well, and should preferably be applied by someone who knows how to wrap. Avoid bandages that are too tight!
  • Elevation. Elevate the area above heart level and place on a pillow or chair.

 

 


 
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