6 Basic First Aid Skills Every Child Should Know
Over half of children ‘would feel helpless to act is they saw someone injured, new research suggests.
15 September 2019
Life-threatening accident or illness emergencies are unpredictable, and could easily happen to someone alone with a child – which is why it’s vital children know some basic first aid.
Research commissioned by the British Red Cross found almost a quarter of children (23%) have experienced a situation where someone needed first aid, but the over half (62%) said they’d feel “helpless” to act if they witnessed an accident and someone was injured.
Nine out of 10 agreed knowing first aid skills would make them feel more confident to help in an emergency. While a separate study by the charity found up to 59% of deaths from injuries could be prevented if first aid had been given before medical services arrived.
Here are some key lifesaving skills children should know.
1. How to call 999
With younger children, parents should explain when they should call 999, stressing it’s especially important if an adult isn’t awake. Make sure they know how to use the phone properly, and that they know their address and postcode and understand they’ll need to answer the call handler’s questions as clearly as possible.
2. How to help someone who’s unresponsive and not breathing
If someone isn’t moving and doesn’t respond when you call them or gently shake their shoulders, check if they’re breathing by tilting their head back and looking and feeling for breaths. If they’re not breathing, call 999 as soon as possible, or get someone else to do it. Give chest compressions by pushing firmly downwards in the middle of their chest and then releasing. Keep pushing firmly at a regular rate until help arrives.
3. How to help someone who’s unresponsive and breathing
If someone’s unresponsive and breathing, move them onto their side and tilt their head back. This will help keep their airway open. Call 999 as soon as possible.
4. How to help someone who’s bleeding heavily
Put pressure on the wound with whatever’s available to stop or slow down the flow of blood. Call 999 as soon as possible, or get someone else to do it. Keep pressure on the wound until help arrives.
5. How to help someone with a head injury
A blow to the head may result in someone having pain or a headache. There may be a bump on their head and they may look pale. Ask them to rest and apply something cold to the injury – for example frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel – to reduce external swelling and pain. Call 999 if they become drowsy, vomit or their condition gets worse, as this could be a sign of a serious head injury.
6. How to help someone who’s choking
Someone who’s choking may be clutching at their chest or neck and won’t be able to speak, breathe or cough. Hit them firmly on their back between their shoulder blades. This will help to dislodge the blockage. Call 999 if necessary.