In case of an emergency

School holidays are just around the corner and as you prepare to keep the little ones entertained, remember that it’s more important than ever to look after their health and safety during the summer break.


Summer fun is all about being outside and enjoying the sun but too much of a good thing can be bad. While those with fairer skin tend to burn more easily than those with darker skin, anybody can get sunburn – and it isn’t a pleasant experience. Besides it being painful, it could cause long-term skin damage and even skin cancer.

Avoid sunburn by:

  • Staying in the shade as much as possible. However, if you are in direct sunlight, be sure to use sun protection such as hats and a high factor sunscreen. The higher the SPF mark on the bottle, the more protection it gives.
  • Keep little ones hydrated and ensure they drink enough liquids while they play outside.
  • If your child does get sunburn, soothe the skin by sponging it off with cool water and apply an after-sun lotion to the area. Do not use petroleum jelly – this can lead to infection. And make sure you give them plenty of water to drink.
  • Seek medical help if your child develops a fever and the sunburn is spread over a large part of their body.


Falling is common amongst toddlers and even older kids. Most falls are minor and require a plaster at most. However, sometimes more care is required.

Here’s how to tell if your child’s fall is serious and what to do:

  • If your child’s skin is broken and the wound is deeper than 1mm, more than 1cm wide and won’t stop bleeding, it might require stitches. Use a clean cloth or towel to put pressure on the wound and take them to the clinic immediately.
  • A head injury is considered serious if your child has a swollen scalp, complains of a headache, loses consciousness (passes out) or vomits after a fall. Take them to the clinic immediately.
  • Any kind of fall that causes pain, swelling or redness around the injury needs attention. If there is a deformity or unusual shape on or around the injured area, and if the child does not want to or cannot move or use the injured area, there may be a broken bone. You will have to have this X-rayed straight away.
  • Whatever the injury, limit movement of and touching the injured area to avoid further damage and find medical help immediately.

Poisonous bites

Venom (poison) enters the body when a poisonous insect or animal bites or stings people as a way to defend themselves. If you believe your child has been bitten, these are the symptoms to look out for:

  • If the child breaks out in hives and complains of painful joints, has a fever and swollen glands.
  • Itchy rashes and swelling of the face, or breathing difficulties, nausea, vomiting and tummy aches.
  • Seek medical help immediately should you suspect a poisonous bite.

Emergency numbers

Keep these numbers nearby and call them in case of emergencies:

  • Ambulance response: 10177. This number can be used for all medical emergencies.
  • Nationwide Emergency Response: 10111. The telephone number is for any emergency that requires police response and can be dialled from anywhere in South Africa.
  • Cellphone emergency: 112. Use this number on your cellphone if you’re not sure what number to dial during an emergency, and you will be directed to the correct department.


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