It’s the stuff of nightmares, the stuff you don’t want to think about but if the worst were to happen you’re going to want to know what to do, especially when it can make the difference between life or death. I’m talking about finding your baby or child unconscious or choking or suffering a severe burn. Would YOU know what to do?
Then of the course there is the more commonly-occurring, almost everyday stuff; bumps and bruises, cuts, temperatures, nosebleeds, rashes etc. Are you familiar with the up-to-date advice on how you should deal with these things? Did you know that cold flannels will make a child’s temperature worse? That butter should never be applied to burns? That ibuprofen should not be used if a child has chicken pox?
Mini First Aid run 2 hour workshops for parents / grandparents / carers and cover everything you need to know. These workshops take place across the UK (there are 41 franchises) and cost just £20. I recently attended one in Devon run by the lovely Liz, a mum of three boys (like me!) and someone who has dealt firsthand with a number of a medical emergencies. Not only through being a parent of three boys but through 13 years spent working as cabin crew. She has dealt with everything from cardiac arrest to delivering a baby, all whilst 40,000 feet in the sky!
I cannot recommend doing the course highly enough, in fact I’d go as far as saying it’s probably the best £20 you can spend if you’re a parent, but for now, here’s some top tips:
FIRST AID KIT
- Get one for your house
- Make sure you replace items as you use them
- Make sure everything is in date
- Should include stuff like
- Plasters, bandages, tweezers, safety pins, burn gel sachets, tough cut scissors, antiseptic wipes, calpol/nurofen, germolene, antihistamine, inhalers (if child has one).
- 111 – out of hours service
- 999 – emergency number in the UK
- 112 – emergency number in the UK and across Europe
CPR – CARDIOPULMONARY RESUSCITATION
Remember DR ABC:
- Danger – check the area and remove any danger
- Response – check for response by calling out, pinching earlobe, tickling feet
- Airway – tilt head back to open airway and check for obstruction
- Breathing – put your cheek to child’s mouth and look for chest rising – give it 10 seconds
- Circulation – no longer have to check for pulse, if child is not breathing, commence CPR
CPR always starts with 5 rescue breaths, followed by 30 chest compressions and 2 breaths. The 30 compressions and 2 breaths are then repeated continuously until the child starts to breath again.
Once breathing the child is put in recovery position – if you don’t know the recovery position just put the child on their side and hold them there.
If you’re alone, call 999 after you’ve given the first 5 rescue breaths and completed one minute of CPR as it’s so important to get breath into the child as soon as possible.
Babies and children are treated slightly differently. Babies are those under 1 year, children are those older than a year. It’s still 5 rescue breaths and then 30 compressions and 2 breaths on repeat but how you do these breaths and compressions differs slightly.
Regarding sunburn and more importantly sunburn prevention, the advice is now to use a suncream with an SPF of 30 on children rather than 50. You may need to top up more often but it’s meant to be better for a child as it allows some sun through and children need the Vitamin D. When buying look for a cream with a high UVA rating.
Treating a burn
- Run under COLD water for a minimum of TEN MINUTES. This is the single best thing you can do for your child. They may kick and scream but persevere.
- If you have a burn gel, use it. Burn gel sachets are great to keep in your first aid kit and work as a painkiller and an antiseptic.
- Loosely wrap the burn in clingfilm.
- Seek medical advice if needed
These are fairly common and in fact just after completing the course I was on the phone to a friend whose 1 year old had one. Luckily I knew what to do!
- Face down, hold bridge of nose.
- If bleeding continues after ½ hour seek advice.
KNOCKING A TOOTH OUT
If it’s a second tooth, put it straight back in and get the child to bite down on something to hold it in place! Then seek medical advice.
Every parent’s biggest fear when it comes to weaning is surely choking. Make sure you’d know what to do if it happened.
With grapes and cherry tomatoes, make sure you cut them in half or quarters. The texture of these makes them stick in the throat. Similarly marshmallows are sticky and can cause choking.
ALWAYS BE IN THE SAME ROOM AS KIDS WHEN THEY ARE EATING.
Choking is SILENT so you need to have your EYES ON YOUR CHILD.
Gagging is noisy, choking is silent. Gagging is ok and normal, choking is an emergency.
The gagging reflex in babies in particular is very far forward so they will gag quite a bit when learning to eat. There is no need to intervene if your child is gagging. This is their way of bringing up the food.
If your baby is choking…
- Put your baby across your knees, face down and tilted forwards so gravity is on your side.
- Give 5 hard slaps between the shoulder blades (hard enough to leave a mark). Use the base of your hand.
- If this doesn’t work, turn your baby over and place two fingers on his/her chest and push in an inwards and upwards motion 5 times.
- Repeat back slaps and chest thrusts until the object has been forced out. If they stop breathing commence CPR.
If you ever have to do chest thrusts, even if the baby seems fine afterwards, you need to get checked out by a medical professional.
If your child is choking…
- 5 hard backslaps between shoulder blades
- Wrap your arms around your child from behind, with your arms going under their armpits. Make a fist and then you need to do 5 thrusts inwards and upwards. Your fist should be above the bellybutton but under the ribs.
- If the child falls unconscious commence CPR.
Again if you ever have to do the chest thrusts then get checked out at the hospital afterwards.
1 in 20 babies will experience a seizure so it’s pretty common and therefore important that you know what to do. Febrile seizures are the baby’s way of cooling the body down.
- Don’t pick your baby up if they are experiencing a seizure!
- Once it has passed, put your baby in recovery position.
- Take their clothes off.
- Open the windows.
- Use a fan if you have one.
- Aim to cool baby down but NO COLD FLANNELS!
(People used to use cold flannels to try and reduce fevers but now we know this can raise the body’s core temperature so is NOT recommended).
For fevers you can alternate between ibuprofen and paracetamol (OBVIOUSLY CHECK THE LABELS AND NEVER GIVE ABOVE THE RECOMMENDED DOSE FOR YOUR BABY / CHILD).
However, what I learnt was that ibuprofen should be avoided with chicken pox and asthma. There is some research to suggest ibuprofen can make matters worse in these cases.
I hope the above is useful but know that it cannot in any way replace actually doing a first aid course. On the mini first aid course I did we also covered breaks and fractures, immunisations, meningitis, head bumps, cuts and grazes, shock and of course how to actually perform life-saving CPR correctly.
This is not an ad but simply genuine endorsement. I believe every parent should do a course so they know what to do in a medical emergency. A 2 hour course with Mini First Aid costs just £20 and could quite literally save your baby or child’s life.