It’s never too soon to teach your children first aid and you just don’t know when they might need it – in the school playground, on the sports field or even at home to help you if you ever have an emergency. Exactly how much you can teach them depends on how old they are, but here are some basic tips to pass on.
HOW TO CALL FOR HELP
This is one of the most important things children can learn to do. If somebody is seriously hurt then they should ask an adult for help straightaway. If there is no adult around, they should call 111. Make sure they know to ask for an ambulance and to listen carefully to the person on the other end. Remind them they will need to know where they are so the ambulance knows where to go. Let them know it is important to stay calm and to answer all the questions they are asked, and not to hang up until the person on the other end of the phone says it is okay. They should always ask for help before attempting any first aid themselves.
WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE HAS A BROKEN BONE
It can be hard for adults – let alone kids – to work out whether a bone is broken. They should err on the side of caution and if someone has hurt a limb and finds it incredibly painful to move, treat it as if it is broken. The most important thing to know about broken bones is that they should not be moved or touched. Not only can this cause extreme pain, but it can also lead to further damage. Try to keep the injured person as still as possible and if necessary find something soft, such as a jumper or cushion, on which they can rest the sore part of their body until help arrives.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEONE IS BLEEDING
If the cut is minor and your child is capable, they could try washing the wound with water – for example putting it under a running tap – and trying to get any dirt out to avoid possible infection. They can then cover the wound with a clean dressing or cloth until help arrives. If the injury is more serious, they should get the victim to press hard on the site of the wound with their hand to stop the bleeding, or do it themselves if the person is incapable. They should cover their hand if they can (for example with a clean plastic bag) when they do this and press hard. Using items such as tea towels, paper towels and pieces of clothing as pads to press against the wound can help to stem the bleeding. If there is an object stuck in the wound that is causing the bleeding, tell them to leave it there – pulling it out could make things worse. Obviously they should not touch this object or press on it.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEONE IS BURNED
Put the burned area under cold running water and leave it for 20 minutes. The water should be running gently, not turned on to full, and they should never hold ice against the skin in an effort to cool it. If there is no tap nearby, putting cool wet cloths on the area is okay but don’t let them dry out. The injured person may need a blanket to keep the rest of their body warm.