Onboard Paediatrics: When a Child Falls Ill.

Written by Jo Peare, Specialist Trainer, MedAire 

Those of us that are parents, or work with children, know that kids are different. They are not just little adults – we cant reason with them, they often dont take no for an answer, they throw tantrums at the tiniest little thing and turn the most solid of us into nervous wrecks. In the medical world children are described as being emotionally disregulatory: In other words, they are totally unpredictable!

It might surprise readers to know that not only are kids not like adults on an emotional level. They are very different to adults on an anatomical and physiological level. This means when it comes to illness and trauma their little bodies react somewhat differently to adults.

We know they have bigger heads, longer trunks, and shorter limbs, so they fall over more. But there is more.their immune and detoxification systems are not fully developed yet. They cant judge time or distance. They seem to be magnets for danger. They often cant explain to us what they have done, or how they are feeling. If there is no evidence of the Persil Liquitab your 9 month old baby has just eaten, you dont know he has done it!  These differences mean that when kids get sick, it can be more difficult to work out what is causing their symptoms, and their condition often deteriorates faster. Quick action is necessary.

When I decided to live on board a yacht in the caribbean with my newborn baby, the most common reaction to our intended move was, thats brave.what if something happens?. I felt confident that as a trained nurse, I would be able to recognise that something that might happen and get to a hospital quickly. So, no worries then.

Since then I have worked in refugee camps in Africa, and I now have a different perspective of being far away from real medical help. Even as a trained Nurse, I had manyheart in my mouth moments with sick children and not much more than a thermometer to aid a diagnosis.

Most of us do feel nervous around babies and kids health, and for good reason. Kids are more vulnerable that adults. Be informed, feel confident. Our workshop on child health on board at The ACREW Lounge, Palma Boat show. 

Register here:  http://www.acrew.com/palma-superyacht-show/