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The 5 main areas of paediatric first aid - Jo Duddridge

 

With more children at home due to lockdown and our NHS under enormous pressure, it is only natural that parents are feeling concerned about accidents. Safety around the home and prevention of accidents is important as are first aid skills especially when you consider that 90% of accidents in the under 5’s occur at home.


When faced with an accident involving your child your world can stand still, pulse starts racing, breathing quickens...this is your fight or flight reaction. Lack of information or knowledge contributes to those feelings of fright and helplessness. Babies and young children are inquisitive, they have little to no sense of fear and do not understand potential consequences. This can lead to accidents. Serious, preventable accidents fall into 5 main areas:

 

Choking is a common worry among parents. If you look at a 2 pence piece, it is roughly the size of a child’s windpipe but it is also soft and more delicate than an adults. When something is inhaled or swallowed and blocks an airway a child can become unconscious in minutes; every day around 40 under 5’s are taken to hospital after choking. 

A child who is choking may be clutching at their chest or neck and won’t be able to speak, breathe or cough. If your child (1 year- 16 years) is choking, give them up to five back blows: hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades. If back blows do not dislodge the object, give them up to five abdominal thrusts: hold your child around the waist and pull inwards and upwards above their belly button. Abdominal thrusts squeeze the air out of the lungs and may dislodge the blockage. Call 999 if the blockage does not dislodge - continue with cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts until the blockage dislodges, help arrives or the child becomes unresponsive. If you can’t call 999, get someone else to do it.


Falls are the most common cause of accident in the home resulting in fracture, head injury or unconsciousness. Sprains or strains can be common and are usually swollen and painful and can sometimes bruise. If your child encounters a fall like this you should get them to rest, apply a cold press to the injury - to help reduce pain and swelling. If there is no improvement, you should seek medical advice.

Poisoning children can be attracted to colourful objects such as laundry capsules or medication which if swallowed causes poisoning. If you suspect your child has been poisoned, don't try to treat them yourself. Get medical help immediately. The symptoms of poisoning will depend on the type of poison and the amount taken in, but general things to look out for include: vomiting, stomach pains, confusion, drowsiness and fainting fits.

Burns & scalds from household items such as hair straighteners can cause horrific injury; a child’s skin is 15 times thinner than an adults. Treating burns can make a difference to how deep the burn goes. Appropriate first aid must be used to treat any burns or scalds as soon as possible. This will limit the amount of damage to your child's skin.

Drowning is silent, there is no splashing, they may not make a noise. Babies can drown in as little as 5cm of water, older children who can swim can still get into difficulty. Your first priority is to get a drowning child out of the water as quickly as possible. It is always best to complete a first aid for drowning course to show you the practical steps that need to be taken in this type of incident.

 

Now is a great time to educate your children on first aid, emergencies and what to do in case of an emergency. Download our free activity sheets with first aid themed games and challenges on them; designed to provide a fun introduction to learning life saving skills. 
 

Whilst unable to attend a paediatric first aid class during lockdown, you can now learn online with Daisy First Aid Cardiff & Vale. Access your CPD accredited course at https://www.bookwhen.com/cardiffdaisyfirstaid

 

Author: Jo Duddridge (Manager & Trainer) Daisy First Aid Cardiff & Vale