RICER first aid: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Referral
When an injury happens, there can be bruising and swelling in the injured area. Too much swelling can cause more damage.
Use RICER first aid for up to 72 hours after a sprain, strain or fracture. It can limit swelling and speed up recovery.
Rest, Ice, Compression
R – Rest
After injury, stop your child moving the injured limb. Movement can increase bleeding and swelling.
I – Ice
Use an ice pack wrapped in light cloth to reduce pain and swelling around the injury. Apply ice for 15-20 minutes every 2-4 hours for up to 72 hours after injury.
C – Compression
Bandage the area firmly (but not too tightly) around, above and below the injury. Overlap each layer by half. If you think it’s a fracture, make sure your child can’t move the limb.
E – Elevation
Keep the injured area elevated. Keep legs above hips by putting the leg on a chair, pillow or stool. Use a sling for arm injuries.
R – Referral
If the injury is severe, call 000. If not, have the injury checked by your GP. A doctor might ask for X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans or MRI scans to diagnose the injury and plan treatment.
In the first 48-72 hours after an injury, don’t use treatments like heat or hot rubs. Also avoid moderate or intense activity and massage.