A study by Mother and Baby Magazine and Tesco found that 82% of parents didn't know what to do if there child was choking on lunch or had just burned their fingers on the hob.
We asked the Red Cross to give parents some advice on how to deal with emergencies when you don't have all the bells and whistles of a fully stocked hospital, or even a first aid kit for that matter!
First aid tips if you have children
These tips don't tell you everything and they are a starting off point! When in doubt and even after you've started to administer first aid, a trip to the hospital or the walk in clinic might be necessary!
If you are interested in learning more about first aid for children, the Red Cross offers 5 hour courses across the UK.
Seeing a need to educate parents, the British Red Cross launched the First Aid Challenge. The campaign throws down the gauntlet to parents and challenges them to learn first aid. Thousands have already signed up, including celebrities such as Konnie Huq, Imogen Thomas and Stacey Solomon.
Learn these vital skills by signing up for free at redcross.org.uk/firstaidchallenge.
Top 10 fast first aid tips to get you started
Fast first aid for croup
Key skill: Sit the child up and help them breathe in a steamy atmosphere
The child has difficulty breathing, and a short barking cough. Their cough may also sound like crowing or whistling.
- When you observe these symptoms, sit the child up and create a steamy atmosphere by boiling a kettle or running a bath.
- Encourage the child to relax enough to breathe in the steam, and if the symptoms continue seek medical advice.
Fast first aid for a nosebleed
Key skill: Pinch the soft part of the nose and ask them to lean forward
- Pinch the soft part of the child's nose and ask them to lean forward.
- Continue to pinch the soft part of their nose for ten minutes.
- Seek medical advice if the bleeding continues for more than half an hour.
First aid for fever
Key skill: Reduce their temperature
The baby or child has a raised temperature (above 37°C), hot, flushed skin and is sweating.
- Check their temperature by using a thermometer.
- Remove excess clothes and give them fluids such as water or diluted juice.
- Give the recommended dose of paracetamol syrup.
First aid for a febrile seizure (fever fit)
Key skill: Protect them from injury and reduce their temperature
The child may be twitching (limbs and face), arch their back, stiffen their body and have clenched fists. They look red-faced, are hot to touch and sweating.
- Protect the child from injury. Do not restrain them.
- Remove outer clothing to help cool them.
- When the seizure is over, help the child to rest on their side with their head tilted back. If the symptoms continue or it is their first seizure, seek medical advice.
First aid for a head injury
Key skill: Apply something cold
- Get the baby or child to rest and apply something cold to the injury (e.g. frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel).
- If they become drowsy, vomit, or their condition deteriorates call 999.
First aid for bleeding heavily
Key skill: Put pressure on the wound
- Put pressure on the wound with whatever is available to stop or slow down the flow of blood.
- Call 999.
- Keep pressure on the wound until help arrives.
First aid for a severe allergic reaction
Key skill: Call 999 when you observe the symptoms
The baby or child may develop a red, blotchy rash, itchiness or swelling on their hands, feet or face. Their breathing may slow down.
- When you observe any of these symptoms, call 999.
- When there is a known allergy, use their auto-injector, following the recommended guidance.
- Reassure the baby or child, and make them as comfortable as possible while you wait for the ambulance.
First aid for a child who is choking
Key skill: Give back blows and abdominal thrusts
- Give up to five back blows. Hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades. If back blows do not dislodge the object, move on to step two.
- Give up to five abdominal thrusts. Hold the child around the waist and pull inwards and upwards above the child's belly button. If abdominal thrusts do not dislodge the object, repeat steps one and two.
- Call 999 if the object has not dislodged after three cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts.
First aid for burns
Key skill: Cool the burn
- Cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes.
- Cover the burn with cling film, or a clean plastic bag.
- Call 999 if necessary.
First aid for meningitis
Key skill: Call 999 if you observe any of the symptoms
The baby or child may have flu-like symptoms, a headache and a high temperature. They may also complain of a stiff neck and be sensitive to light. At a later stage, a rash may form (that does not disappear when a glass is pressed against it).
- If you observe any of these symptoms, call 999.
- Give them constant reassurance while waiting for the ambulance.
Tinies Training offers a range of childcare training courses, including First Aid Courses for Childcarers.