Lifesaving first aid tips for parents and carers

Posted by Train Aid / Thursday 07 December 2017 / Families

It's a common myth that first aid is complicated and difficult to learn. The truth is, you can learn skills in just a couple of hours that can save lives.

When do I need to contact the emergency services?

There are some times when the best thing to do is call emergency services. You should call in the following situations:

  • If a child stops breathing;
  • If a child becomes unconscious;
  • If a child is still choking after 3 cycles of treatment; or
  • If bleeding won't stop and the child is getting weaker.

If you need to do this, state your location and be concise. The quicker you say how serious it is, the faster they will get to you and be able to help.


What should you do if your baby is choking?

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The most important thing to do is to sit down with the baby resting head downwards along your thigh. Deliver five sharp back blows between the shoulders which will usually clear the object.

When choking, a baby will often be either silent or making strange gurgling noises because of the trapped object.

If the baby starts crying or screaming then it's a positive sign of recovery.

One of the main benefits of first aid training is to learn the ‘chest thrust’ technique that can be used when the back blows do not work. This video shows clearly what you should do in these situations.

What shall I do if my child stops breathing?

This is undoubtedly the biggest emergency within first aid. First call 999 and tell the operator where you are and that your child has stopped breathing. Keep the phone on speaker mode next to you on the floor.

On a flat surface, tilt the child's head back and gently breathe into their mouth five times. Next, place the heel of your hand in the centre of their chest and push firmly 30 times. Top up with two breaths and 30 more compressions. Follow a ratio of 30:2 until the emergency services arrive.

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When should I put my child into the recovery position?

One simple rule to remember is that all unconscious children should be placed into the recovery position. Even if you can't remember the full technique, you can save a life just by rolling a child onto their side.

Remember that a child is defined as unconscious when they do not respond to you, but are still breathing normally.

One exception to the rule is if you suspect the child has a head or spinal injury. Keep them still and dial 999 in these situations.

What if my child has additional needs?

Some children have complex needs such as autism or severe learning difficulties. These conditions will affect how the child reacts and possibly their symptoms.

Parents / carers will definitely need to learn the 3 main signs of breathing, and the full range of choking symptoms to avoid any doubt during an emergency.


First Aid Courses

All of the above can be learnt within 2-3 hours on a first aid course. Nothing really can replace practising these skills hands on, with mannequins, and on each other. This helps to reinforce the techniques in your mind, and it is surprising how much you will remember when a real emergency strikes.

You can find out about Train Aid's first aid courses for parents over on their website.