Today is Child Health Day, so let’s talk about something really important:
First aid for kids.
We all know that accidents happen. Whether it’s a scraped knee from playing in the park or a more serious injury at home, knowing what to do can make all the difference. For children, whose bodies are still growing and developing, immediate and correct first aid responses can be even more crucial.
Parents and caregivers are often the first line of defence when accidents do happen. This Child Health Day, we want to empower every parent and caregiver with the knowledge they need to ensure the safety and well-being of their young ones.
Why First Aid for Kids Matters
Did you know that homes, the places we consider safest, can sometimes be where kids get hurt the most?
Breaking it down, this means about 55 kids every day have home injuries that are so bad they need to visit the hospital.
First Aid Skills for Common Injuries
Let’s go over some basic first aid for kids for common injuries among children.
Minor Cuts & Scrapes
- Clean the wound: With washed hands, use clean warm water to rinse off the wound. Gently remove any dirt or debris.
- Dress the wound: Use a bandage or gauze and tape to cover the wound. Do not get the tape on the wound. Select a large enough bandage or cut a large enough gauze to cover the full wound.
- Redressing: Change the dressing daily or each time it gets wet.
- Recognize the signs: Inability to cough or breathe are signs of choking. Yell out to get someone’s attention to call 911 so you can administer care right away.
- Act quickly: Use any two of these techniques in rotation until the object is dislodged: back blows, abdominal thrusts, or chest thrusts.
- Continue care: Keep giving aid until the object is out, the child starts to breathe or cough, or emergency responders arrive.
- Position them correctly: Have them lean slightly forward, not backward. This keeps the blood from going down the throat and stops the possibility of coughing, gagging, or vomiting.
- Slow or stop the bleeding: Pinch the soft part of the nose and hold for 10 minutes without releasing.
Strains, Sprains, & Fractures
Here are the steps for dealing with these types of injuries according to the Canadian Red Cross:
Sprains & Strains
- Immobilize: Keep the injured limb still in the position it was found in.
- Cold compress: Place a cold pack wrapped in cloth on the hurt area for 20 minutes every hour during the initial 24 to 48 hours.
- Elevate: Try to lift the injured body part higher than the heart, but only if it doesn’t cause too much discomfort.
- Seek medical attention: Have your doctor or healthcare professional look at the injury as soon as possible.
- Recognize the signs: Pain, tenderness, loss of circulation, loss of sensation, swelling, and colour changes are all signs of a fracture.
- Immobilize: If you feel a fracture has occurred, do not move the child. Keep the injured area still and use items (boards, rolled newspapers, blankets, etc) to support the injury.
- Cold compress: Place a cold pack wrapped in cloth on the injured area for 15 minutes every hour.
- Seek medical care: Call 911 immediately.
Knowing these basics can help you stay calm and give the right care when it counts. But remember, always call a professional when you’re unsure or if the injury is serious.
AEDs & CPR for Kids
When a child’s breathing or heartbeat stops, every second counts, and knowing what to do can mean the difference between life and death.
Basic Steps for Performing CPR on a Child
It’s important to understand that performing CPR on a child is different than performing CPR on an adult.
- ABC’s: Check the child’s airway, breathing, and circulation.
- Call 911: If the child is unresponsive, call 911 and, if possible, get an AED, or direct someone else to do these tasks.
- Start CPR: Position both hands in the middle of the child’s chest. Perform 30 chest compressions by pressing down firmly and consistently.
- Administer rescue breaths: Open the airway by tilting the head backward and lifting the chin upward. If you have one, position your protective barrier over the child’s mouth and nose. Deliver 2 breaths.
- Repeat: Continue the cycle of 30 chest compressions and 2 breaths until you have an AED or emergency responders arrive.
Are AEDs Safe to Use in First Aid for Kids?
While the basics of first aid for kids are useful to know, being prepared is the best way we can protect them. Taking the time to learn and get certified in child care first aid is an invaluable investment in their safety.
Build a Child-Friendly First Aid Kit
Having a first aid kit on hand is a great step toward ensuring safety, especially when curious kids are around!
First Aid Items to Include
Here’s how to create a child-friendly first aid kit:
- Adhesive bandages in various sizes and shapes, perfect for those tiny cuts and scrapes.
- Sterile gauze pads to cover larger wounds.
- Adhesive tape to keep gauze in place.
- Antiseptic wipes for cleaning wounds.
- Antibiotic ointment to prevent infections.
- Hydrocortisone cream for bug bites or itchy rashes.
- Tweezers for removing splinters or bee stingers.
- Digital thermometer to check for fever. Consider one designed for children’s use.
- Children’s pain reliever (like acetaminophen or ibuprofen) with proper dosing instructions. Always consult with a pediatrician before giving any medication.
- Cold packs that can be activated by squeezing for bumps and bruises.
- Child-safe scissors for cutting tape or gauze.
- First-aid manual with clear instructions on treating common injuries.
- Emergency contact numbers including pediatrician, nearest hospital, and poison control center.
Don’t forget to store your kit in a consistent place so that all family members know its location, but ensure it’s high enough or secured so children can’t easily access it.
Our homes, schools, and playgrounds are filled with moments of laughter and joy, but they’re also places where unexpected incidents can occur. In those unforeseen moments, being equipped with knowledge about first aid for kids is a necessity.
To every parent, grandparent, sibling, teacher, and caregiver reading this – take the time to learn first aid for kids! Equip yourself with the skills and confidence to face emergencies head-on and make safety a priority.
Looking to make your school as safe as possible? Our activity-based Student First Aid Program was designed so that students of every age level have the opportunity to learn valuable first aid skills. Register now!