First Aid for Kids – What Should They Know!

Whilst we never want to think of our children or those in our care being involved with, or witnessing, situations requiring first aid and medical attention, it can happen, and often there isn’t any warning. Hopefully, most of the time, children will be under adult supervision and can leave grown-ups to administer first aid and deal with the situation, however, that won’t always be the case. So it is vital that we teach children – even those as young as toddlers – what to do in an emergency situation.

It is important that children understand the basics of first aid, and how they can call for help, when faced with situations involving bumps, bleeding, and burns. 

At Immediate Care Medical we run Flat Stan Workshops aimed at children ages 4-11 years to introduce them to these vital first aid skills. Through demonstrations and role play the workshops allow children to have fun, whilst learning essential life skills which could just save someone’s life. 

The key things to teach the children in our care:

Getting Help: 

Perhaps the most important thing to teach children faced with an emergency is how to call for help and an ambulance. A great skill to teach is calling for help, encouraging children when faced with an emergency situation to shout loudly for help saying “Help Me” repeatedly is a good starting point. 

It is also very important that children are taught to seek help from the police should they need it. They should feel comfortable and safe to approach the police from a young age, you can encourage this by pointing the police out and reminding children they are there to keep them safe , also we should avoid making “jokes” about the police telling them off if they are misbehaving, this can lead to them becoming wary of the police. 

How To Call an Ambulance.

As soon as children can recognise numbers, ‘999’ should be something they become familiar with, and its importance should be reiterated often. You should practice what information is needed to give to the operator with your children, with your name, home address, and phone number being super important – perhaps have your address and number written on the fridge so they see it often. It is important to make the learning fun and not scary, but also making sure that the message is taken seriously. You could act out a situation with one of your children’s teddies to help with their memory – pretending to have collapsed or have had an accident yourself may be too distressing for young children. Lets face it most 2 year olds are better with technology than we are, so make sure they know how to ring the emergency services from both the home phone and mobile.

Assessing The Situation.

Understanding how to describe the situation is also key. A child may be taught how to contact the relevant emergency services, yet without being able to describe the situation, the wrong help may be on the way. Slightly older children can get familiar with the basic primary assessment of injury, by using the ‘DRAB’ method, or the “ABCD” technique for giving first aid:

DRAB:

Danger: Assess whether there is continuing danger either to the patient, or to the individual trying to help. This is discussed further in the point below.

Response: Is the injured person able to respond? If so, can they describe their injuries? Whilst some injuries may be clearly visible, often serious injuries are not. Their level of response will help the operator know the severity of their condition.

Airway: It is crucial to enable breathing as easily as possible. If the patient is unconscious, their tongue could have rolled back and be blocking their airways. Teach your child to tip their head back gently, open the mouth, and make sure this isn’t the case. This technique is easy to practice at home!

Breathing: Are they breathing normally? You need to look, listen and feel to check they’re breathing.

ABCD – Airway, Breathing, Compression or CPR, Defibrillation.

Remembering these tips could make all the difference and help the emergency services to work in the most efficient way as possible.

Keep Safe.

Whilst it is important to have children aware of life-saving practices, it is also important that a child doesn’t put themselves in danger whilst trying to help. For example, running to aid someone hit by a car or in a fire is admirable, but could lead to those rushing to help being injured. Remember to teach the child who you are advising to assess the situation adequately before providing assistance, ringing the emergency services or seeking alternative help may be the safest option. 

Burns.

Kids getting accidentally burnt is a relatively common occurrence, and whilst always painful, the pain can be minimised by teaching a child to cool a burn quickly. As soon as possible, burns should be held under cool running water – for as long as possible. Aftercare can be applied by adults, with aloe vera cooling gel after the burn has been cleaned. Remember, the skin is still burning after removal from the flame or hot object, so cooling it down is key! Although remember you should never use ice packs or ice. If there is an adult is present, it is useful as you help them to explain these steps to aid their recall of these techniques. Explaining why cold water is important, and why we have to clean any wounds, will hopefully help kids to be able to remember these steps, and help themselves or others in the future. 

Bleeding.

Simply knowing to put pressure on any bleeding wound is enough to stem the blood flow until further assistance arrives. If there’s a clean cloth around, pressure with this is best to teach – other than that, a hand will do the job. Bandaging wounds is also a great basic skill to teach. If the injury is just a minor scrape or scratch, then usually bleeding will stop naturally, and you should clean it and leave it uncovered. For larger wounds, you should first stop or slow the bleeding, clean the wound and then apply a bandage – rolled gauze or gauze held in place with paper tape – as this keeps the wound clean. 

Educate Yourselves Together.

There are numerous blogs, videos and courses you can watch or take so that you skill up on basic first aid. You never know when an accident or emergency may happen, so being prepared and having these skills and knowledge could really save lives. 

Our Flat Stan workshops visit schools, and we also run them at libraries, clubs and for teams, throughout the midlands.  To find out more or book a workshop visit here https://www.immediatecaremedical.co.uk/first-aid-training-courses/flat-stan-first-aid.html 

Teaching children this information could help them to keep themselves and those around them safe. However, we must not approach it in a scary or confronting way, it should be as natural as learning simple life skills like brushing our teeth, or washing our hands. 

Teaching children this information could help them to keep themselves and those around them safe. However, we must not approach it in a scary or confronting way, it should be as natural as learning simple life skills like brushing our teeth, or washing our hands. 
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