As a parent, your greatest fear in life might be that something will happen to endanger your child’s safety. Let’s face it, kids have a knack for getting themselves into all kinds of scrapes. Whether they’re climbing trees, riding their bikes or simply filling up on their favorite foods, you may constantly worry that disaster will strike. Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, it’s impossible to remove all risk. However, by making sure you know how to react in emergencies, you stand a better chance of protecting your little ones. With this in mind, here are three of the most fundamental first aid skills that all parents should know.
1) Dressing cuts and grazes
Cuts and grazes are particularly common injuries among children and they’re usually easy to deal with. However, they do require you to have first aid supplies on hand. If you don’t already know what you should have in a household first aid kit, consult websites like the NHS or Steroplast Healthcare. If cuts and grazes don’t look serious, simply clean them thoroughly and cover them with a plaster or dressing.
If the cut is bleeding heavily, make sure you apply pressure to the wound using a clean towel or bandage before you apply a dressing. It also helps to raise the affected area. If the injury is to the hand or arm, get your child to lift the limb above their head. If the cut is on their leg or foot, make sure they lie down and raise the area above the level of their heart.
For cases of severe bleeding, you’ll need to call an ambulance as soon as possible. While you’re waiting for medics to arrive, apply continual pressure to the wound with your hand, ideally using a clean pad. You can then dress the cut with a bandage. If the bleeding continues through the dressing, apply another one over the top.
2) Treating severe allergic reactions
Kids can suffer severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) as a result of insect stings or eating certain foods. In cases like this, fast action is essential. Firstly, you’ll need to recognise the signs. Common symptoms include difficulty breathing, dizziness and swelling of the tongue and throat. If you know already know about your child’s allergy and you have an adrenaline injector, administer a dose. Also, if you see the potential cause, like a bee or wasp sting in their skin, remove it carefully.
Whether you have an injector or not, you should also call an ambulance straight away, and make sure your child is in a comfortable position while you wait for help to arrive. If they are conscious, it’s usually best to keep them sitting upright.
3) Preventing choking
Choking is another major risk for kids. In mild cases where the airway is only partly blocked, you can encourage your child to cough to remove the obstruction. You can also try to remove any obvious blockage from the mouth using your two first fingers and thumb. Don’t attempt to reach into the throat though as this could push the obstruction further down. If your youngster is struggling to breathe, give five blows to the back between the shoulder blades using the heel of your hand. Check the mouth between each blow to see if the blockage has been dislodged.
If this doesn’t work and your child is over the age of one, try abdominal thrusts. This technique requires you to stand behind them , place your arms around their waist and bend them forward. Clench one of your fists and position it just above their belly button. Put your other hand on top and pull sharply upwards and inwards. Repeat this up to five times.