First AidA helpful guide in the event of an accident.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, emergency treatment or formal first-aid training. Don't use this information to diagnose or develop a treatment plan for a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified health care provider. If you're in a life-threatening or emergency medical situation, seek medical assistance immediately.
Knowing what to do in an emergency situation can sometimes make the difference between life and death. While we certainly hope that none of you will have to use this guide, it is nice to have as a reference in the event it is necessary. Become familiar with common first aid guidelines and ensure that anyone caring for your baby has general working knowlede of first aid. Here we will cover the most common conditions that affect our children.
- Animal Bites: Determine if the bit is minor or deep. If the skin has not been broken or is slightly broken, consider it minor. If the skin has been punctured or is bleeding, consider it deep. For minor wounds, wash the skin with soap and water. Use a topical antibiotic cream and apply a bandage. Repeat as necessary throughout the day to prevent infection. For deep wounds, use a clean cloth and apply pressure to encourage the bleeding to stop. See a healthcare professional immediately, as stitched may be necessary. If you do not know the immunization status of the animal, seek medical attention immediately for rabies treatment. Call your child's doctor if the wound becomes swollen, red or has a pus-like discharge.
- Human Bites: Stop any bleeding by applying pressure with a sterile cloth. Wash the skin with soap and water and apply a topical antibiotic cream. Cover the bite with a sterile bandage. Applying toothpaste may help reduce swelling on the bite. If the bite is severe, seek emergency medical care. Because of the bacteria and viruses present in the human mouth, watch for signs of infection, including redness, swelling, warm skin, fever and pus development.
- Snake Bites: Call 911 immediately. Try to keep your child calm and quiet. Apply a loose splint to the area and do NOT use ice or attempt to remove the venom. Do not capture the snake, but do try to have a description of the snake that caused the bite.
- Spider Bites: Clean the skin with soap and water. Apply a cold compress. If the spider is a black widow or brown recluse, seek medical attention immediately. Tie a turniquet above the bite to slow the spread of the spiders venom. If you are unsure of the type of spider, but your child is experiencing chills, fever, nausea or severe abdominal pain, seek medical attention or call 911 immediately.
- Tick Bites: Use tweezers and grasp the tick at the head or mouth. Pull gently to remove the entire tick from the skin. Put the tick in a jar so that the doctor can see the tick. Wash the skin with soap and water. Seek medical care if you are not able to remove the entire tick. If your child has a severe headache, breathing difficulties, paralysis, chest pain or loss of consciousness, dial 911 immediately. After the tick has been removed, contact a doctor if the child experiences rash, fever, stiff neck, joint or muscle aches or swollen lymph nodes.
Black eyes are caused by bleeding under the skin and are not usually serious. However, a black eye can be a sign of a serious injury, including a skull fracture. Seek medical attention immediately if there is bleeding in the eye, double vision, severe pain or bleeding in the nose. Home treatment consists of applying an ice pack to the blackened area to reduce swelling. This should be done for 24 hours.
Blisters are often caused by burns and friction. If the blister is red, oozing pus, severely painful or warm, contact a healthcare provider as they may be signs of infection. To prevent infection, it is always best to leave the blister intact and not drain the fluid. Cover the blister with a gauze pad or bandage. If the blister has been punctured, apply a topical antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and then cover with a bandage or gauze pad.
The first step in burn care is to determine the severity of the burn. Burns are classified as first-degree, second-degree and third-degree.
- First-Degree Burn: Only the outermost layer of the skin is burned but not burned through, leaving the skin red, swollen and painful. To treat the burn, hold the burn under cold water for atleast five minutes, longer if possible. NEVER put ice or butter on the burn. Apply a topical antibiotic cream to the burn and cover with a sterile bandage. If the burn is larger than 3 inches in diameter or involves the hands, face, groin, buttocks or joints, proceed to the nearest emergency department immediately. Signs of infection include fever, swelling, pus, redness and increased pain.
- Second-Degree Burn: The outermost layer of skin has been burned throguh and the second layer is also burned, leaving blisters on red, swollen and splotchy skin. Severe pain is common.
To treat the burn, hold the burn under cold water for atleast five minutes, longer if possible. NEVER put ice or butter on the burn. Apply a topical antibiotic cream to the burn and cover with a sterile bandage. If the burn is larger than 3 inches in diameter or involves the hands, face, groin, buttocks or joints, proceed to the nearest emergency department immediately. Signs of infection include fever, swelling, pus, redness and increased pain.
- Third-Degree Burn: The most serious form of burns in which all layers of skin have been affected. Often, the fat, tissues, muscles and bones are affected and damage is usually irreversible. The skin may appear black, however, there is usually no pain present due to the extent of damage.
In the event of a third-degree burn, call 911 immediately. Ensure that the patient is no longer exposed to heat. NEVER remove clothing from the patient. To prevent shock, do NOT immerse a large burn in cold water. Make sure the patient is breathing and begin CPR if no respirations are present. If possible, raise the burned area above the level of the heart and cover the burn with a cool, sterile bandage or towel.
- Chemical Burn: In the event of a chemical burn, flush the skin with cool water for atleat 30 minutes and wrap with a sterile dressing. If burning persists, rewash the area. Take off any clothing or accesory that has come in contact with the chemical. Seek immediate medical care or call 911 if the patient is faint, pale or respirations slow. If the chemical has burned through the first layer of skin or affects the eyes or face, seek medical care at once. If possible, take the chemical to the doctor with you.
- Sunburn: Sunburns can cause pain, redness, swelling and blistering. If a more severe sunburn is present, nausea, vomiting, headache and fatigue may also be present. Give your child a cool bath and add 1/2-1 cup of baking soda. Use aloe vera throughout the day for relief. Do not cut blisters open, but do apply a topical antibiotic cream if they burst. NEVER use petroleum jelly or butter on a sunburn. If the sunburn is severe, seek medical attention.
When an object becomes stuck get in the throat and blocks the flow of air, choking may occur. Because children put small objects into their mouths and do not always chew their food completely, choking in children is common. Signs of choking include: hands on the throat, unable to talk, breathing difficulty, loss of consciousness and a bluish color to the skin, lips and nails. If you notice that your child is choking and you are alone, call 911 immediately.
- First, deliver five back blows between the person's shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
- Next, perform five abdominal thrusts
- Alternate between five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.
If the person is unconscious:
- Lower the person on their back onto the floor.
- Clear the airway. If there's a visible blockage at the back of the throat or high in the throat, reach a finger into the mouth and sweep out the cause of the blockage. Be careful not to push the food or object deeper into the airway, which can happen easily in young children. If you can not see the item , DO NOT do this.
- Begin CPR if the object remains lodged and the person doesn't respond after you take the above measures. The chest compressions used in CPR may dislodge the object. Remember to recheck the mouth periodically.
If the choking victim is under age 1:
- Assume a seated position and hold the infant facedown on your forearm, which is resting on your thigh.
- Thump the infant gently but firmly five times on the middle of the back using the heel of your hand.
- The combination of gravity and the back blows should release the blocking object.
- Hold the infant faceup on your forearm with the head lower than the trunk if the above doesn't work.
- Using two fingers placed at the center of the infant's breastbone, give five quick chest compressions.
- Repeat the back blows and chest thrusts if breathing doesn't resume. Call for emergency medical help.
- Begin infant CPR if one of these techniques opens the airway but the infant doesn't resume breathing.
Cuts and Scrapes
- Stop any bleeding by applying pressure with a clean cloth. If you can not stop the bleeding, or blood is profuse, seek medical care immediately.
- Once the bleeding has stopped, rinse the wound with water and make sure no dirt remains. If you are not able to remove all debris from the wound, seek medical attention.
- Once the wound has been cleansed well, apply hydrogen peroxide and apply a topical antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
- Cover the wound with a sterile bandage and change once or twice a day. If the bandage is dirty or wet, apply a new one with more antibiotic cream.
- If the cut is deep, seek medical care. Stitches may be necessary to close the wound.
- If you notice redness, increased pain, swelling, warmth of the skin, fever or drainage, call your doctor to evaluate for infection.
When blood supply to the brain is insufficient, fainting occurs. If your child has a history of fainting, contact the pediatrician to discuss possible disorders. If this is the child's first time, lay them down on their back with the feet elevated. Make sure the airway is clear and tilt the head to the side if you see signs of vomiting. If the child is not breathing, contact 911 immediately and begin CPR until help arrives. If the child does not regain consciousness after 1 minute, contact 911 immediately.
Ear: Do not attempt to remove the object by using a cotton swab, bobby pin, matchstick or other item. This may cause the object to be pushed further into the ear. If you can see the object, use tweezers to remove. If an insect is inside of the ear, use warm (not hot) baby oil or olive oil to ease the insect out. Gently pull the earlobe backwards and downwards. Do NOT use oil for any object other than an insect ir if there is perforation of the eardrum, which would be accompanied by pain, bleeding and discharge. Seek medical assistance if the object does not come out or if the child is in pain or has reduced hearing.
Eye: Use clean water or sterile eyedrops to flush the eye out. Do NOT try to remove an object that is in the eyeball and do not rub the eye. If you are not able to remove the object or there is something in the actual eyeball, seek medical attention at once. If the child is in pain after the onject is removed, seek medical attention.
Nose: Do not attempt to remove the object by using a cotton swab, bobby pin, matchstick or other item. This may cause the object to be pushed further into the nose. To prevent possile inhalation, have your child breathe through the mouth. Encourage your child to blow their nose gently. If you can see the object, use tweezers to remove. If you can not see the object or you can not easily grasp with tweeaers, do not attempt. If you are unsuccessful, seek medical attention.
Skin: Cleanse the area with soap and water. Use tweezers to remove the object. If the object is embedded into the skin, use a sterile needle to break the skin and then use tweezers to remove the object. Rewash the area with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment. Seek medical care if the object does not come out.
Fractures & Broken Bones
All broken bones require medical attention. If the child is responsive and the fracture does not appear serious, proceed to the nearest emergency room. Call 911 immediately if any of the following are present:
- The child is not responsive
- Heavy bleeding is present
- The bone is protruding from the skin
- The broken bone is in the neck, head, back, hip or pelvis
Until medical help arrives:
- Stop all bleeding by applying pressure with a clean cloth
- Apply ice packs that have been wrapped in a towel to the area to reduce swelling
- If possible, elevate the legs (not if the leg is broken)
- If the child is not responsive, begin CPR.
- Heatstroke can be life-threatening and should be taken very seriously.
- Signs of heatstroke include:
- Elevated body temperature (Usually greater than 104)
- Rapid heartbeat
- Breathing difficulties
- No sweat
- Changes in blood pressure
- Feeling dizzy
Move the child into a cooler area (whether it be shade or air conditioned) and dial 911 immediately. If the child is conscious and able, encourage them to drink cool water. Do not force water to a person if they are unconscious. Cover the child with cool sheets or spray with cook water.
Insect Bites & Stings
If the child is highly allergic to a particular insect or exhibits the symptoms of a severe reaction, call 911 immediately. If the child has medication for this, give to them immediately. If the child is conscious, give them an antihistamine. Elevate the feet above the heart and turn the person on their side to prevent choking on vomit. If the child is not conscious, begin CPR until help arrives. Symptoms of a severe reaction include:
- Swelling of the face, lips or throat
- Breathing difficulties
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomitng
If the child does not show signs of a severe reaction, you should proceed to care for the bite or sting. Make sure the child is away from the insect that caused the bite/sting. Scrape off the stinger with a credit card or knife. Do NOT pull the stinger out. Wash the skin with soap and water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Apply calamine lotion, hydrocortisone cream or baking soda/water mixture to the area.
Nosebleeds are generally not a cause for concern. To care for a nosebleed, you should:
- Sit up and lean forwards, discouraging the blood from being swallowing.
- Pinch the nose for 10 minutes and breathe through the mouth.
- Discourage your child from picking their nose or blowing their nose for 3 hours after the nosebleed.
- If bleeding last for more than 20 minutes or follows an accident, seek medical attention immediately.
Contact the Posion Control Center (USA only) at 800-222-1222 for further instructions and advice regarding poisoning. Have your child's name, age, weight and the cause of poison readily available.
Call 911 immediately if your child:
- Is unconscious
- Is experiencing breathing difficulties
- Having seizures
- Becomes very tired.
- Has severe chemical burns.
- Do NOT give your child ipecac syrup or any other subsance to induce vomiting.
If the tooth is knocked out:
Comments: First Aid
Comments 1 to 3 of about 3.
- Seek immediate dental care
- Handle the tooth by the top and avoid touching the root
- Rinse the tooth in a bowl of tap water NOT under running water
- If possible, place the tooth back into the socket.
- If placing the tooth into the socket is not an option, place it immediately in a container with your own saliva, whole milk or a saltwater solution. (1/4 tsp salt to 1 quart of water)
1194 days ago.
Thought I would add.....if ure little one knocks a tooth out and u find it, put the tooth in milk and take it to the dentist with you.....MILK not water DiandClover
1653 days ago.
In Canada, you can call the children's safety association at 1-888-499-4444. Besides providing general information on keeping kids safe, they will also provide local poison control center phone numbers (I notice the number on this page is US only). The website is www.safekid.org. Laura Ward
1653 days ago.
A new forum on first aid has been added to the site.