What to Do if A Pupil Traps a Finger in a School Door
Recently, a 7-year-old boy severed his finger in a toilet door at his primary school. Surgeons were unable to re-attach his fingertip. Since the incident, it has come to light that none of the staff at the 200 pupils primary school was trained in first aid.
Each year, 30,000 children trap and seriously injure their fingers in doors. The vast majority of finger-trapping accidents are completely preventable with door finger guards in place – but in the unfortunate event that one of these distressing accidents does occur, it is important to know what steps to take to help the injured child as effectively and as efficiently as possible.
In the most extreme circumstance, a child trapping their finger in a door can cause the finger or fingertip to sever. Emergency A&E treatment must be sought immediately.
When a finger is severed, the most important thing is to finger the severed digit as quickly as possible. Once the digit is found, it is important to wash the severed finger or tip with water or sterile saline and then to cover it in a damp gauze wrap or clean damp cloth. The severed finger should then be put in a clean, waterproof bag and place onto ice.
If more than one finger is severed, these must be put into separate clean bags to prevent infection and further damage.
It is important to keep the severed digit cold with setting it directly on ice. This must be taken to A&E with the child in the hopes that surgeons will be able to re-attach it.
Breaks and Fractures
We have spoken to a registered GP to find out the advice she would give those faced with the challenge of finger and hand first aid.
In most finger-trapping accidents, the injury caused will result in a broken finger. In the worst examples, this can be easily identified as the broken bone pierces the skin or the finger will look deformed or bruised.
If you suspect the finger is broken or dislocated, you should go to your nearest A&E department.
Breaks and fractures are extremely painful so the injured area should be handled delicately, but it is important to note that if the bone is protruding the skin, the injury should not be handled by anyone other than a doctor in order to avoid the risk of sustaining any further damage.
On the way to hospital, there are a couple of things that can be done to help, such as making a temporary splint using, for example a pen or pencil and strapping the makeshift splint gently to the finger to stabilise it. Swelling and pain can also be reduced by applying ice wrapped in a tea towel to the injured area.
Most broken or fractured fingers take around six weeks to fully repair.
Sprains and Strains
It is always best to consult a professional in the case of a finger-trapping accident, whether this be through your local MIU (Minor Injuries Unit) or A&E, but if the injury is a sprain, movement of the finger will be possible (although painful) and the finger shouldn’t be visibly deformed.
In this case, it is best again to indirectly apply ice (wrapped in a cloth or a tea towel) to help reduce the pain and swelling, as well as to avoid using the injured finger.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Most finger-trapping accidents that occur can be prevented with the use of door finger guards on the front and back hinge of a door as well as the use of door stoppers.
At Fingershield™ Safety, we have been specialising in preventing finger-trapping accidents for 20 years. We provide Free Door Risk Assessments to schools and nurseries to allow us to check that all your current door finger guards are in full working order to prevent finger-trapping accidents as well as risk assessing any doors which do not have finger protection in place.
We then provide you with a copy of the report for your health and safety file as well as providing you with recommendations to safeguard your doors to prevent finger-trapping accidents from occurring.