Out on a fishing trip, a child gets a fishhook jammed into a hand.
What to do?
On the sandlot, playing catcher, another gets knocked in the head by a swinging batter and is out cold.
What to do?
A third exuberant over a holiday feast, gobbles too quickly and is left choking.
What to do?
The problem has been that people who aren't medically sophisticated until very recently just didn't know what to do. There was no booook that could be turned to that wasn't designed to accompany some kind of first aid or life-saving course. Even then the print was compact and in the flush of the emergency, few adults had the leisure to scan the table of contents.
So parents and other adults, faced with a childhood emergency resorted most often to "scoop and run" syndrome, according to Paul A Cirincione.
"They want to pick up the child and go seek help, or they just sit there and watch the whole thing go sour." he says. "The most important thing in an emergency is not to do any harm and moving a child, even to make him or her more comfortable, often is damaging."
To educate parents and prevent the panic reaction. Cirincione and a team of people have put together a magazine-sized paperback entitled. "A Sigh of Relief the First-Aid Handbook for Childhood Emergencies."
In Washington recently to promote the book, Cirincione, who is the book's research director, explained how it had come into being.
"Martin Green, the producer of the book was faced with his own child choking to death. He just happened to have pinned to a bulletin board in his home the latest technique successsfully and that got him to thinking about where a parent could find emergency information on children's accidents.
"The notion (for the book) grew out of this even. Martin decided to put together a production team for the book thaaht would essentially be a graphic presentation of what to do in emergencies."
The book, which is color-coded to emergencies, has large type and pictures which, in two-page demonstration spreads, show the step-by-step response to children's accidents. It is divided into two sections - one dealing with the prevention of accidents the second half with emergency procedures after an accident has occured.
"The book is not intended as a substitute for a doctor," says Cirincione, "but it does operate on the 'worst assumption' theory that no docttor is available and that the parent must act."
In the book's section on "Fever," for example, the first thing a parent is told is to call the doctor. The parent is advised not to use medication, enemas, alcohol or ice-water rubs unless the doctor advises these procedures. If, however, the child's fever has reached 103 degrees Fahrenheit, and the doctor can't be reached, the parent is given a step-by-step procedure for cooling the child down in cool, not cold water.
"The procedures are very simple," says Cirincione. "Some of them can even be used by children on adults. The important thing in any emergency is calmness and access to the proper information.
That is one reason, he says, that the book is designed so that it can be propped up and oused at the scene of an emergency. In addition, the book, which is designed to cover childhood emergencies from birth to "an indefinite point of adulthood," also includes a section which can be used to hold the personal medical history of a child.
"These pages can be photocopied and given to the child's grandparents a daycare center, or the babysitter," says Cirincione, who has a 20-month old daughter. And this information is especially important when the child is between the ages of birth and 20 months, he says.
"Any accident to a child at that age smotherings, falls, electric shock, or ingestion of poison - are complicated." says Cirincione, "because the child can't tell you what's wrong."
Circinione says that the book was put together with information and comments from the American National Red Cross, Boston Children's Medical Center, the National Safety Council and the National Clearing hosue for Poison Control Centers.
Outside such standard emergencies as bites, stings, chest injuries, frostbite, sprains and strains and transporting the injured, the book also includes a color section on drug identifcation, a contemporary emergency that many parents are unfortunately being confronted with handling with increasing frequency.