BE it a trip, slip or fall, it's normal for little ones to get themselves into the odd scrape.
It's part and parcel of growing up, developing personalities and pushing boundaries.
Accidents can and do happen, so it's important to know what to do in case of some of the most common incidents – and in the worst-case scenario, be prepared to save a child's life.
Speaking to The Sun, first aider Kate Ball said all parents and caregivers need to know a few key first aid skills…
There are different types of burns including electrical, acid, chemical or those from hot water.
The NHS states that appropriate first aid must be used to treat any burns or scalds as soon as possible so there is limited damage to the skin.
Kate, who is the founder of Mini First Aid and who has been working with Savlon said quick action is key.
She said: "Our first instinct is to panic in a first aid emergency but with burns, it’s imperative you don’t.
"Whatever the size of the burn, you must get it under cool, running water immediately.
"Before you do this, remove any clothing in the way, using scissors rather than pulling if skin is stuck to the burn."
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She added that you should explain to your child this will be uncomfortable as you will need to run the wound under the water for 20 minutes (or until help arrives via 999).
But it’s really important as it will help their skin feel better, she said.
"Keep the rest of their body as warm as possible whilst cooling the burned area.
"Try your best not to touch the burn and wrap the burned area in cling film or a bag to prevent infection and seek medical help," Kate explained.
2. Cuts and grazes
We all had cuts and grazes as kids, often resulting in some tears.
These might seem like little things, but Kate said knowing how to deal with a minor bleed is important.
She recommends carrying a mini first aid kit with you, containing plasters and antibacterial wipes just in case.
The main thing with any cut or graze that is bleeding, is to apply pressure to stop the blood.
"Sit your child down comfortably, examine the cut or graze and then use something that is clean and absorbent to apply pressure – this could be a tea towel or a spare t-shirt – just remember it must be clean.
"Keep checking the cut and once the bleeding has stopped you can remove the pressure."
Next, Kate said you need to clean it up. For kids, you could use a dressing pad with water to help remove any dirt from the wound.
Once you've done this and the area is dry, apply a plaster.
Kate said: "Choose a plaster appropriate to the size and location of the wound – our kits contain elbow and knee plasters as these are common sites for accidents.
"Make sure you don’t touch the white sterile absorbent strip on the plaster as this will sit on the open wound so must be clean.
"Firmly secure the plaster to stop any dirt entering the cut. You and your child are now ready to carry on enjoying your day!
“Antiseptic creams are a versatile addition for first aid kits across the country, able to treat superficial burns and scalds, as well as cleanse cuts, grazes and minor wounds to help prevent infection."
Bumps are super common in young children as they are extremely curious about the world around them but don’t yet have the cautious streak that develops as they get older.
Kate said head bumps, however minor, need to be taken seriously and treated with care.
"You’ll often see a lump after your child has bumped their head, as fluid rushes to the site of the injury, causing a painful swelling.
"In order to reduce the swelling and help your little one with the pain, you need to apply a cold compress – alternatively, you could use a reusable cold gel pack and apply the cold compress for ten minutes and make sure your child is sitting and resting."
During this time, Kate explained you need to observe your child for signs of concussion. These are:
- Slurred speech
- Sudden sleeping or a desire to go to sleep
“Whilst the above are common signs of concussion, you do need to use your instinct here – if your child is behaving in any way that is unusual for them, this could also be concussion.
"If you suspect your child has it, take your child to A&E immediately," Kate added.
Kate said there are many reasons why your child might stop breathing and their heart stop beating.
Adults tend to have a cardiac event meaning the heart is not functioning, but children tend to have respiratory compromise where breathing is affected, she explained.
Kate said there are three main things you need to keep at the forefront of your mind:
- RESPONSE: A quick assessment of unconsciousness established by a tap on the foot or shoulder and calling their name to see if they respond.
- AIRWAY: Open by head tilt – chin lift
- BREATHING: Look listen and feel for a maximum of 10 seconds for normal breathing.
If your baby or child is not breathing and unresponsive you need to SHOUT FOR HELP and start CPR, she said.
Kate continues: “For CPR for a baby under one, with the airway open, give five initial rescue breaths by placing your mouth over your baby’s mouth and nose, forming a seal and blowing into their mouth.
"Next, complete 30 chest compressions – pressing down firmly with two fingers in the centre of the chest at a rate of 100-120 per minute.
"Then give two rescue breaths followed by 30 chest compressions and repeat.
“If your baby starts to breathe, place her in the recovery position on their side, with their head tilted back until emergency help arrives.”
For CPR for a child over one, with the airway open, give five initial rescue breaths by placing your mouth over your child’s nose, forming a seal and blowing into their mouth, Kate said.
Next, complete 30 chest compressions – pressing down firmly with the heal of one hand in the centre of the chest at a rate of 100-120 per minute.
Then give two rescue breaths followed by 30 chest compressions and repeat.
“If your child starts to breathe, place her in the recovery position on her side, with their head tilted back until emergency help arrives," she added.
5. Febrile seizure
A febrile seizure is a fit, caused by a child having a fever, which is usually a raised temperature as a result of an infection of some sort, Kate explained.
Their body goes stiff and twitches or jolts (sometimes violently). During this time, the baby or child is unconscious.
“Febrile seizures are most common in babies from birth to three years; the age in which their bodies heat control system is rather amateur, and they are unable to regulate their body temperature.
"Illness causes a fever (high temperature) and their body responds by having a seizure," Kate said.
WHAT TO DO:
- Stay calm
- Place the baby/child on their side with their head tilted back
- Cool them (without sudden shock cold temperatures)
- Remove additional layers of clothing.
- The seizure should last for less than five minutes.
- Call 999
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“Whilst these seizures are normally not life threatening, as parents and carers we need to know what to do.
"If the seizure reoccurs within 24 hours there may be something more serious going on, which is why you should always ring 999," Kate said.
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