Parents know Band-Aids especially well – opinion piece by Rick Bannister

We all know Band-Aids. They’re one of those rare brand name things that transcended from regular grocery item to become synonymous for an entire category of product–in this case, what’s technically known as an adhesive bandage. 

People all over the world, from Kempsey to Kentucky, yell for a Band-Aid when they have a minor accident, the same way we ask for a Kleenex when we want a tissue or some Chapstick when we need lip balm. 

Parents know Band-Aids especially well. They know the power those little flesh-coloured strips hold, not just to mend cut fingers or soothe scraped knees, but for hundreds of other situations, most of them without any visible symptoms. 

Like when a toddler falls in front of their siblings and hurts their pride more than their hands. Or if they trip and a favourite toy gets broken. Or when they’re just completely exhausted. I’m amazed how many times I’ve offered my two-year-old son a Band-Aid, having run out of every other option to calm him down, and it’s actually worked.

Then there are the times when my kids really do need some sort of medical treatment and I have no idea what to apply. Is it balms for burns? Betadine for scrapes? Tea tree oil for sunburn? I can never remember, so I just stick a Band-Aid on everything and hope for the best.

Surprisingly, Band-Aids work on children’s toys as well as on children themselves. One of my proudest parenting moments was breaking up a fight over a favourite doll by explaining that ‘Elsa’ had a headache from all the yelling and she needed a Band-Aid to fix her. In seconds, things deescalated from mini-UFC match to mini-emergency room team as they scrambled to search for the box (always up the back of the medicine cabinet or in the second drawer), pull one out, and then go through the tedious process of unwrapping that fiddly little wrapper and peeling the two flaps off the back. By the time it was applied, they’d forgotten all about the tussle and the attention was on healing Elsa. 

For all the good Band-Aids do my kids right now, both real and by the power of suggestion, I’ve started wishing I could bottle some of that magic and reserve it for future use. My girls are only six and four, so they’re years away from the sting of peer pressure or the pain of a broken heart, but I’m already wishing Band-Aids worked on teenagers the way they do on toddlers. If only you could stick a little plaster strip on a fifteen-year-old’s chest and stop them from feeling like the world’s imploding because someone texted and said it’s over. 

Hell, I’d like an adult version for those rare occasions when we escape the house for a night and wake up with a clanging headache. How good would it be if a Band-Aid on the temple soothed a hangover at forty-two the same way it can trick a tired three-year-old?

Band-Aid got into trouble a couple of years ago when a doctor saw a promotion claiming they “heal cuts twice as fast” and he requested the clinical trial data that backed up the claims. Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Band-Aid, refused to release the information on the grounds that they were commercial secrets, pulling the promotion instead. 

Not a good look and, for what it’s worth, I don’t think they need to promote that sort of thing anyway– parents already know the magical things Band-Aids can do.

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