Not Quite Hiking

An Injury On The Playground

Finley recently had an accident while playing on a simple seesaw at a local National Trust property. I was asked to share how I handled the situation, as I was out with the 3 children on my own. If I’m honest, I’ve never really had a plan as to what I would do if ever I was caught in an emergency on my own. I’m usually local, and never doing anything dangerous! But, what I learned, is that accidents can happen anywhere, any time.

An Injury On The Playground

In actual fact, we were on a playground, and Finley was on a seesaw. And it was a BIG accident. There was no one to blame, although Oliver did blame himself for a while. But as I explained to him, it could have happened to anyone.

The seesaw that caused the accident.

Finley fell at an angle that snapped both of his forearm bones. He shrieked “MY ARM”, held up his elbow,and his hand flopped at a very unnatural angle. I immediately knew it was broken, and had only 3 thoughts.

  1. He was going to be in a LOT of pain, and I had no method of pain relief for him.
  2. I could not move him in a way that wouldn’t cause him more pain, or possibly make the break worse.
  3. We were too far from the main house, and up a steep muddy bank. It wouldn’t have been safe for him to walk, or for me to carry him.
Finleys’ X-ray

A Mothers Instinct

My instinct told me to phone an ambulance. Hopefully they would stretcher him, or even bring a splint for him. I imagined one of those box splints for leg breaks.

I gave the operator my location, as best as I could manage. Looking back, I should have used the OS Locate app on my phone. It gives the exact coordinates of your location. After I had spoken to 999, I sent Oliver (11 years old) to find somebody who worked at the National Trust property we were at. He chanced upon a very kind lady who offered to run back to the house and send somebody to help us. I think he had got himself a bit emotional.

I then phoned my husband to tell him what was going on and to make his way to us, to pick up the kids while I went to the hospital with Finley.

Trying to keep Calm

I stayed with Finley. I kept him on the floor as he was well layered up and had a nice woolly hat on to keep him warm. As soon as Finley had fallen, I managed to take his arm out of his sleeve. I took Oliver’s coat and propped up his broken arm, so it was off the cold floor.
We practiced some deep breathing to manage through the pain, and tried some distraction techniques. Looking at the trees and listening out for different sounds. I kept rubbing his chest, assuring him that all will be fine by the end of the day.

Molly (7) kept quiet and hung around, waiting for the ambulance to arrive. She was really good and stayed out of the way.

Where’s The Drugs?!

Eventually, the ambulance arrived, and brought nothing! They had a triangle splint, but because Finleys’ pain was too great, he couldn’t be put in it. So I had to hold him, one hand under his elbow, the other holding his palm, with his little banana shaped arm in between. We walked back to the house, where the ambulance was, where Finley was finally administered pain relief.

He is such a trooper, and I can’t believe he walked all that way with his arm in the air, with not a peep out of him. He is so stoic, and listened really well to all the NHS staff who helped him.

At the hospital, he was sedated to have the arm manipulated back in to position. Once that was done, he was mostly pain free and happy to have the ordeal over and done with.

On Reflection

After we settled at home, I had the chance to reflect over the days events. Should I have called an ambulance, just for a broken arm? In my eyes, yes. As I mentioned earlier, I had no means of pain relief, his arm was floppy and he was losing feeling in his fingers. I didn’t want to make any mistakes and make the situation worse for him. I couldn’t reasonably manoeuvre him, or carry him, so an ambulance was the best choice.

In my opinion, feel that the seesaw he was on, could have been better built, to save this accident from happening. All Finley could hold on to, was a rope that did not pull tight. He couldn’t save himself from falling. This needs to be better designed, I think.

Top Tips To Handle An Injury On The Playground.

  • Know some First Aid. I know it sounds simple but I think everybody should be well versed in basic First Aid. Know the signs of shock, what to do if somebody falls unconscious, and how to stem bleeding.
  • Keep calm. Especially if it involves children. They mirror your emotions, so the calmer you are, the better they will cope.
  • Always carry a First Aid kit. I had changed bags, and didn’t have mine on me. Whether I still would have used it, is unknown, but I may have been able to give pain medication. We carry sachets of Calpol, which are handy for keeping in your First Aid kit.
  • Never be afraid to ask for help. If you need someone to watch other children, or grab a member of staff, most human beings are actually rather kind!
  • Use a location app, such as OS locate on your phone. When you open the app, it shows a display of numbers and two letters. This is your exact location. Give this to the call operator and they will be able to track you. You don’t need phone or WIFI signal. Just a bit of battery to open the app.

What Would You Do?

As a mother, seeing your child in pain, and being unable to do anything about it, is the hardest feeling. I definitely just followed my instincts, and was very grateful that my other two children were sensible and did as they were asked. I can’t say I didn’t panic initially, but I quickly realised I had to pull myself together for Finleys’ sake. Honestly, I believe that if anybody was in the same position, that they would do the same.

As always, I am grateful for suggestions in the comments, on how to improve in a situation like this. Would you have done anything differently? Do you think I did anything wrong?

I would love your thoughts on an injury on the playground.

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