How to Deal with the Most Common First Aid Emergencies in Children


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Keeping your child safe is a job that never ends. There will always be new risks to think about and potential hazards to watch out for. We can’t expect children to understand the dangers of everything they come into contact with, so as parents we need to be prepared at all times.

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Having a first aid kit in the house and knowing how to deal with common emergencies is essential to being prepared. Depending on your child’s age and specific needs, your first aid kit may require some adjustments, but there are some universal basics you should have in place before anything else:

Performing CPR

If a child’s heart has stopped, they are in critical condition and will need CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). It’s a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation where you give two breaths followed by a quick set of 30 compressions in the middle of the chest. You should press down around 2 inches into the chest and allow the chest to expand between compressions fully. Repeat this at a rate of 60 to 120 compressions per minute. You can learn CPR skills with

Treating burns

Large burns can be life-threatening, so keeping them clean, safe, and dry is essential. If you don’t have a burn kit at home, or if what you have isn’t up to scratch, it’s worth investing in one. Cool the burn under running water to provide relief. Don’t put creams or ointments on the burn as they may trap bacteria inside the wound. Remove any clothing and jewelry around the burn. Wrap the burn in clean, loose bandages to reduce the risk of infection and keep it safe. Keep the burn clean and dry to reduce the risk of infection. If it gets infected, see a doctor.

Allergic reactions

An allergic reaction is triggered when a person’s immune system reacts to a substance their body believes it is being attacked by. The severity of allergic reactions can vary greatly and can be triggered by anything from food to animal dander (dirt, dust, and hair from animals) to some metals in jewelry. You need to know how to recognize the signs of an allergic reaction and treat it. If your child shows an allergic reaction, you need to get them treated as quickly as possible. Look out for a sudden rash, swelling, an itchy rash, or their lips and tongue swelling up.

Dealing with bleeding

Blood is an essential part of the body, and as parents, we need to know how to deal with it when we see it. Some minor cuts and scrapes will bleed, but you should always try to keep them clean and covered until they heal up. If the cut is superficial (not too deep), use some tissue paper to apply pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding until it’s healed up fully. If the cut is severe, apply pressure with a clean cloth or paper towel for around 10 minutes, and seek medical advice. If the wound is on a limb, try lifting it above the heart to reduce bleeding. Keep applying pressure and cloths to soak up and slow down the bleeding. Never remove soaked-through materials to stop bleeding, as this will increase the bleeding.

Choking and breathing difficulties

Choking is a common, often fatal, emergency for which every parent should be prepared. If your child starts to choke on something, don’t panic. Stay calm and these techniques:

  • 5 back blows, kneel behind the child, and bend them over. Then deliver back blows between shoulder blades

  • 5 abdominal thrusts (the Heimlich Maneuver)

  • Then alternate between both until it is dislodged.


First aid is an essential skill for all parents, but it’s not something that can be learned overnight. It takes practice and preparation, but it’s worth the effort. Having the right kit and knowing what to do in an emergency can save lives. 


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