I started to write a post this morning, but the phone rang. It was a friend with an emergency on the other line, so I had a little change of plans of what to write about.
First thing to do is be calm. If you freak, the child will too. Speak calmly. As a mom, it's pretty freaky when something happens, but put the child first in your thoughts (even if they did something dumb, and you want to cuss them out, DON'T. Save that for later if you must). Keep your voice and face peaceful and soothing. Tell him/her that everything's going to be okay, and give the child hope that someone will be able to make it better.
Today I told my friend's little boy about the time when my daughter got hurt in the same spot but it got better, and now you can't even tell it happened except for one little mark. Of course, I didn't mention stitches or anything about how they were going to make it better. My goal was to get his mind off of his owie and onto the idea that it's not going to hurt forever.
I've heard that if a child takes a serious fall, you wait and let the child get him/herself up. Never move a person unless he/she's in a dangerous place. You could do more damage by moving someone, so don't move him/her unless you have to. But, I will tell you, I broke my leg a few years ago. I could NOT get myself off the floor. I got to my knees, but struggled to get up. Thankfully, there was a woman there with bionic strength who was able to lift me off the ground and get me to a better place, so I guess with this one, you play it by ear.
As soon as he/she is able, get him/her to do the talking. A few years ago, my daughter (#3) had to have stitches--this is the running in the parking lot experience (she was carrying two gallons of milk to the car for me when I was very pregnant). As blood was trickling down her leg, I found that my talking helped a bit, but as they were cleaning (a nasty experience--gravel deep in the knee, you get the picture), I got her to tell me about the most recent book she'd read. I think she told me the entire story of The Tale of Despereaux. When it was done, she asked when they were going to be stitching her up; they were already done. Her mind was in a much happier place. Actually, now she looks back on that little trip to the E.R. with great fondness--one-on-one time with mom and her talking the entire time. Pretty funny. By the way, I stayed totally engrossed in her story. It was that or be totally grossed out by what the doctors and nurses were doing. I think I chose the better part for sure.
One other thing, if it's something semi-serious, make sure to treat for shock. If nothing else, get them to lay down and elevate their feet. This morning, the little guy's teeth were chattering, so I picked his feet up while he was laying on the counter and just talked to him as if I always stood there with his legs in my hands. The chattering stopped soon thereafter. If ever in doubt, do this.
I'm sure most of these are obvious, but if you've never been in these kinds of situations, maybe some of these things'll help you. If you have any secrets to how to deal with these kinds of things, please feel free to share them. I'd love to know some more tricks.