Do elementary schools provide basic first aid?

     When I picked up my daughter from school the other day we were just about to pull out and she said, “Oh mom, I stabbed myself with a pencil at school today and I got a band-aid”.  It never occurred to me that my child might stab herself with a pencil at the ripe old age of 8.  I asked her if anyone checked it.  Her response was, “No, I just got a band-aid.  Was someone supposed to?”  I am thinking to myself, does no one at this school practice basic first aid anymore?  I know that sounds a bit crass, and grumpy…but this is not the first time one of my kids has come home from school with a cut or scrape and told me that no one has rinsed off their wound before just sticking a band-aid. on it.

     We went back into the school nurse who looked at the stab mark and said, “I can’t tell if she’s got something in there or not…let me see if I have some peroxide to maybe get it to bubble up….if there’s something in there the bubbling might just help it work itself out.”  Turns out they had no peroxide in the nurses’ office that day.  They also did not have any tweezers sharp enough to pull out the ‘hard bit’ that the nurse thought she felt in the wound.  The nurse apologized profusely and said if we were at her house, she could certainly get to that little bit, but unfortunately she did not seem to have what she needed in her office that day.

     Hmmm.  I called my dear husband when we got home because my eyesight is just not what it used to be and I really needed a magnifying glass to see if there was anything in there.  Luckily he was able to talk and he assured me he would look at it when he got home later this evening.

     After rinsing off her wrist off and putting triple antibiotic ointment and a fresh band aid on, we went to choir practice later the same afternoon.  When the kids are down stairs singing I mentioned to one of the moms that my kid stabbed herself with a pencil today and no one at the school even bothered to check if there was any graphite or pencil bits in her wrist.  I then wise cracked that I wanted to know what had happened to providing basic first aid at school.  

     She exclaimed, “I know!  It’s crazy right?!  My son came home one day and said he’d slipped and cut himself playground and got a band-aid.  When my husband was giving my son a bath, he called down to me that he was going to take the bandage off and check out the cut…Then my husband again calls down to me that I should come take a look at the leg.  It turns out the ‘cut’ was almost an inch deep in my son’s leg!  I am thinking this is more than just a little cut.  My husband asked me if the school said anything, or if I got any kind of note.  I said nope… We both asked our son if anyone had washed it off, or put any ointment on it.  He said they just stuck a band-aid. on it and he went on playing.  We were shocked!”

     I mentioned to this same mom we had started a first aid module over the break because both our kids like to role play being the doctor on Star Trek Voyager and they like to pretend to perform all sorts of scans and injections.  She laughed and commented, “You might as well teach them first aid so they know what to do themselves!  At least that way you know they’ll get taken care of.”

     I thought about what that mom said to me again this morning and decided to write this post because I think it’s sad that our school nurse didn’t have the supplies she’d prefer when we were in her office the other day.  I think it’s even sadder that the ‘after care’ and ‘before care’ at our school doesn’t teach the kids to wash off their cuts and scrapes.  (Although I was assured by the Principal that they do…) But mostly, I want my kids to know what to do to take care of themselves.  When doing on-line searches for free first aid instruction, I found several websites that looked promising.  I have not completed courses on all of these…but I am listing a couple below for convenience.   Offers a free basic on-line first aid course that can be completed for a certificate.  looks to be rather comprehensive with both CPR and First Aid certificates available for free download upon course completion.  (Be sure to check your state regulations if you need CPR certification for work-related reasons.)
Please let me know if you have experienced similar incidents at your children’ s school?  And if so, did you do anything to address the issue?  Also, if there are other ‘free first aid’ websites you think are good, please share those too.


Soccer Snacks 10.16.14

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Last night I took my first-grade son to his school’s soccer game. I was dismayed when, near the end of the game, a parent walked out to their car and came back with individual plastic containers of cotton candy, packaged cookies, and a cooler full of Gatorade.

I don’t understand why parents think it’s OK to load kids up with this junk after a sporting event. Do we see professional athletes chowing down on cotton candy and cookies on the sidelines at -three-hour football games? The weekend before, it was the same thing – packets of cookies and cartons of apple juice after the game. Only once this year have I seen a mom show up with orange slices and bottled water for a team after the game.

I have to work very hard to keep my kids educated on how bad these choices are for our bodies, so it really doesn’t help to have other parents bringing stuff like this for ‘snacks’ after team practices and games. And just so I don’t sound unsympathetic to all the families out there with two working parents and thus little time to slice up fruit, many produce sections now offer pre-cut apples in packages. There are also plenty of fruit cups filled with orange slices or pineapple in natural juices. For those of us too busy to cut fruit for ourselves, we can buy it in individual, pre-cut packages.

This is what I had to explain to my kids, in order to get them to understand how bad all that would be for them to eat. I won’t mention the snacks we were offered last night, but Walmart sells tubs that hold two servings, and they have 28 grams per sugar in each container! Even if I could get my kid to only eat half, that’s 14 grams of sugar! The ‘single serving’ of Chips Ahoy cookies had 13 grams of sugar per package/serving. My daughter wanted Oreo Golden cookies, which were also a single serving that contained 18 grams of sugar. The 12 oz. Gatorade has about 21 grams of sugar per bottle. Let’s say I can distract my kid from finishing their cotton candy by moving them onto the cookies or their sugary drink and they only eat half. Half a cotton candy plus a drink plus the cookies add up to 48 to 53 grams of sugar depending on which cookies my kid chose.

Now I’d like to put this in perspective. I’m not a complete anti-sugar mom. We have reasonable limits in our home based on scientific evidence. The World Health Organization recommends limiting adults to 25 grams of sugar per day. If we simply consider kids to be half the physical size of an average adult, that means their average sugar intake per day should be limited to 12.5 grams. I round up and tell my kids 13 grams per day of added sugars is the limit. (I don’t limit their fruits, vegetables or breads.) Looking at the 48-53 grams of sugar my kids were offered in one fell swoop is quite disturbing.

Last night, we skipped the cotton candy and the sports drink, and I let them have two cookies before dinner and one after dinner. The remaining cookies are in a plastic snack bag until they are remembered and asked for. At that time, they will again be reminded of the 13 grams-per-day limit, their grandfather’s type two diabetes, and how eating ‘junk food’ keeps us from eating ‘real food’ that our bodies love and need to be happy.

I am off to make us some fruit sorbet popsicles, since these seem to fill the urge for sweets and are our latest healthy alternative. I found the recipe in a book by Julie Daniluk titled “Slimming Meals that Heal”. I am enclosing the recipe below, but feel free to visit her website for more great ideas. My daughter especially likes the “Transit Breakfast smoothie” and the “Superfood Shake” from “Slimming Meals that Heal” as well.

Raspberry Breakfast Sorbet                                 Terka


1 cup frozen organic raspberries (I use non-organic, sorry! We used strawberries the first time and they were great too.)

1 and 1/2 cups ice

2/3 cup berry juice (I substitute apple because that’s usually what I have on-hand)

¼ cup hemp seeds

1-2 grams stevia powder (I substitute 2 Truvia packets here)

Directions: Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to stir/shake ingredients a few times for a more consistent texture.

The recipe says it makes 3 servings.

For my family, we fill up 2 sets of 4 popsicle molds, so I get 8 popsicles (sometimes a little extra from this depending on how closely I follow the berry and ice measurements). After an hour, they are ready to eat.