The London Economic

Family First Aid – What You Need to Know

By Tracey Taylor, British Red Cross First Aid Spokesman

Being a parent means you never quite know what’s around the corner. Children are naturally inquisitive which means lots of exploring and discovering is normal. Of course with that comes the inevitable little bumps, bangs, trips and tumbles. While most of the time that quivering bottom lip can be vanquished with a hug and appearance of their favourite cuddly toy, it’s always important to have a little first aid know-how. That way, if you were faced with a more serious emergency situation, you’d have the skills and confidence to be able to help. Here are my top first aid tips for families:

1. Firstly learn first aid in whichever way suits you best. Anyone can learn it, it’s easy to recall and the confidence it will give you is invaluable.

2. Go on a baby and child first aid course such as the British Red Cross baby and child first aid course. Take your family and friends along and you’ll all leave with miles more confidence and with the skills to be able to take action in an emergency situation. Plus it’s really easy to learn and you’ll have an experienced trainer there to support you throughout.

3. You don’t need a first aid kit. There are lots of everyday items that you can use in an emergency; cold milk is great to cool a burn if you don’t have access to cold running water, or frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel is ideal to sooth a bump to the head.

4. Burns and scalds are common in toddlers as the little explorers don’t always know what is safe to touch or not – at times we need eyes in the back of our heads! If your baby or child burns themselves, cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes. Whilst cooling get someone to call 999 for an ambulance if necessary. Once the burn has been completely cooled, cover it loosely with cling film or a clean plastic bag and ensure you get your child checked out.

5. Febrile seizures can happen in younger children and babies when they become too hot – which can happen as a result of a fever. If your baby or child is red-faced and hot to touch and they arch their back, stiffen their body and have clenched fists, this may be a febrile seizure. The key thing you need to remember is to protect them from injury and reduce their temperature. While this would be a scary situation for you to deal with it’s worth remembering that it normally appears worse than it is and most children make a full recovery once they have cooled down.

6. Bumps to the head are common for little ones and are normally nothing to worry about. A blow to the head may result in the baby or child having pain or a headache. There may be a bump on their head and they may look pale. Firstly, get the baby or child to rest and apply something cold to the injury (e.g. frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel). If you are concerned that it may be more serious, if they become drowsy or vomit or their condition deteriorates, call 999.

7. Meningitis is a common concern for parents and one we get asked about frequently. Signs to look out for if your baby or child is unwell are; flu-like symptoms, a headache and a high temperature. They may also complain of a stiff neck and be sensitive to light. If you suspect meningitis call 999 – trust your instincts!

8. Bee stings are common in the warmer months and, while they are not harmful, can be scary for little ones. When an insect sting is visible on the skin, a credit card can be used to scrape it away. Using the edge of the credit card, drag it across the skin. This will remove the sting. Using a credit card or your fingernail is preferable to using a pair of tweezers as they can squeeze the sting and actually inject more position into the casualty.

9. Always make sure you keep harmful substances like alcohol, drugs (prescription or non-prescription) and chemicals (including household cleaning products) out of children’s reach. If they do swallow something harmful establish what they have taken, when and how much. Then call 999 right away.

10. Download the baby and child first aid app. Packed with useful information, animations and tips, it’s first aid at your fingertips.


Tracey will be speaking at The Baby Show taking place from the 23rd-25th October at Kensington Olympia (  Standard tickets are £20 but we have three pairs of tickets to give away to our Twitter followers.  Simply make sure you are following us and retweet any of our competition posts that will be tweeted out.

The Baby Show with Made for Mums, the UK’s leading pregnancy and parenting event, is a must-attend event for new and expectant parents providing everything needed for bump, baby and you including all the essentials, alongside the latest, innovative products and boutique brands.


The London Economic

Baby and Child First Aid – what you need to know

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