From the time they are born until they grow, children are exposed to a wide range of activities. Parents will certainly be happy as the exposure will help their children in recognising their environment.
Unfortunately, when children begin to recognise their surroundings, they may encounter incidents. Of course, as a parent, you don’t want your child to be hurt, do you?
For that reason, you must equip yourself to give your child proper first aid. This article will cover the information you need to do when dealing with an injured child.
Why should parents learn infant and child first aid?
Parents should learn how to give an infant and child first aid because it is nearly impossible to isolate them from their surroundings. Preventing them from learning about their surroundings may also restrict their growth and development.
Therefore, parents must accept the risks of allowing an infant or child to learn about their surroundings. Moreover, they must first learn to administer first aid before seeking professional assistance.
Administering first aid to your child will keep the injury from worsening. At the very least, you will know what to do while waiting for your child to be admitted to the hospital and receive medical attention.
Emergency conditions that need immediate help
As you can see from the poster above, your child may encounter a variety of incidents. The following are some suggestions for dealing with the conditions:
Helping a drowning child or infant
The first thing you must do to help a drowning child is to take them out of the water. You can do this by seeking help from the rescue team, or if there isn’t any, you must do it yourself.
Once the child has been out of the water, you must ensure that they are breathing and that their body is warm. It would be preferable if they cough, and you can rest assured that this is a sign that they are breathing.
If the child loses consciousness and does not appear to be breathing, you must dial 995 to get emergency help. You can also call an ambulance if you are unable to drive your child to the nearest hospital. While you wait for help, you can perform CPR on them. This is why it is critical to understand how to do it correctly and save lives.
Helping a choking child or infant
Choking can occur in children and babies under 12 months due to foreign objects, typically a piece of food or a toy, blocking their airway. In cases of choking, you must ensure that your child is indeed choking as there are some other possibilities, such as regular coughing.
If you’ve found that your child is choking, you must remain calm. Panicking will only worsen the situation because the child will mirror your reaction, making their condition worse.
Following that, you can administer aid based on the child’s age, whether it is a child aged 1 to 8 or a baby under 12 months. However, we recommend you give them first aid while calling the emergency so that if the choking worsens, your child will get proper help from paramedics.
First aid for a choking baby under 12 months
- Deliver 5 back blows forcefully between the shoulder blades with the heel of your other hand.
- Turn the infant over on his/her back, resting on your thigh.
- Deliver 5 chest thrusts over the lower half of the sternum (breastbone)
- Check if the foreign body is expelled after every set of 5 back blows and 5 chest thrusts, and remove it if it is visible.
- If the baby loses consciousness, you must perform chest compression until emergency help arrives.
First aid for a choking child aged 1 – 8
- Place 2 fingers above the navel and well below the tip of the xiphoid process.
- Place the thumb side of the fist against the casualty’s abdomen, midline and above the 2 fingers’ spacing.
- Deliver each thrust firmly and distinctly with the intent of relieving the obstruction until the foreign body is expelled or the child becomes unconscious.
- If your child becomes unconscious, you must perform chest compression and notify the emergency services that you are calling.
Helping an asthmatic child or infant
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects the airway to the lungs. The disease is a more common occurrence in children than in adults. Asthmatic children frequently experience breathing difficulties due to a narrowed airway caused by inflammation.
Having an asthmatic child or infant can be challenging for parents because the disease can relapse unexpectedly. Therefore, if your children have asthma, you should know how to help them in the meantime.
The following is a list of first aid measures you can take to help your children who are suffering from asthma attacks:
Direct Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI)
- Remove the cap from the MDI and shake well.
- The child should seal their mouth over the MDI’s mouthpiece.
- The child should inhale and exhale deeply before use. Each puff should be coordinated with a deep breath and held for about 10 seconds.
Metered Dose Inhaler with Spacer
- Insert the MDI into the spacer before the casualty should seal their mouth over the spacer’s mouthpiece (a face mask may be required for children under 6 years of age).
- Each puff into the spacer should be followed by normal 6 breaths through the spacer.
- If more than 1 puff is needed (as prescribed by their doctor – not more than 8 sprays), rest for 1 minute before commencing the above steps until the required number of puffs has been completed.
Treating allergic reaction in a child or infant
Food allergies are the most common cause of allergic reactions. Many people, including children and infants, suffer from food allergies. Children and infants are more likely to develop food allergies than adults because they are less exposed to different types of food.
Therefore, as a parent, you should monitor your child’s food consumption to avoid allergic reactions. However, you may be unaware that your child has food allergies and unintentionally feed them the foods they are allergic to.
The following are some things you can do to help your child if they have an allergic reaction:
- Give them antihistamines drugs to treat a minor allergic reaction
- Administer injectable epinephrine to treat a severe allergic reaction
- Call for an emergency ambulance to immediately administer your child to medical care
Treating inhalation of fumes in a child or infant
Fumes inhalation can occur when children inadvertently inhale harmful gases from objects such as wall paint, corrosive cleaning fluid, gasoline, and many others. Children may be able to survive fume inhalation in some cases without experiencing any significant negative side effects.
Inhaling fumes, on the other hand, is still hazardous to children. They may experience dizziness, hyperventilation, nausea, and other symptoms if they inhale too many hazardous gases over time.
As a result, if you see a child who has inhaled fumes, you should do the following:
- Remove the child from the hazardous gas-producing environment.
- Check to see if they have any significant symptoms resulting from inhaling fumes.
- Contact an emergency help if the child exhibits physical weakness.
Caring for strangulation in a child or infant
Strangulation can occur in children and babies due to objects wrapping around their neck or chest. Children, for example, may suffer strangulation while out playing, and when their parents lose sight of them, they begin to do risky activities that can lead to strangulation.
On the other hand, infants may suffer strangulation if the straps in their baby carriers are too tight. They can also get it from an overly tight baby swaddle. Parents should be aware not to use anything to bind their baby in a way that could result in strangulation.
However, strangulation does occur in some cases. Parents should know how to help their children when this happens because this condition can lead to fainting. Here’s how you can assist a strangled child:
- Remove the object that is suffocating your child
- Check their breathing; if they are not breathing, perform CPR
- Call an ambulance to carry your child to the nearest hospital as soon as possible
Caring for hyperventilation in a child or infant
Hyperventilation is a condition in which someone breathes more frequently and for a shorter period between breaths. This condition can affect children and infants, and there are several causes.
If you notice your child hyperventilating, you must determine the cause. It could be a result of shock, panic, or fear. On the other hand, asthmatic children can hyperventilate when their disease recurs.
Next, after understanding the cause, you can perform the following help to them:
- Calm the child and ask them to take a deep breath
- Assure the child that they are safe around you
- Administer first aid for asthma attacks if asthma caused the hyperventilation
Taking the Child First Aid Course
After learning a few first aid steps for assisting children and infants in threatening situations, you may realise that you will need accurate skills to do so. You can gain the capability of saving the lives of children and babies by taking the Child First Aid (CFA) Course.
The course will teach you the skills and knowledge to recognise and respond to injuries and medical emergencies. The course will teach you how to give first aid to adults, but it will also guide you to help injured children and infants.
Getting a Child First Aid (CFA) Course is becoming an important part of keeping children and infants safe around us. Whether you are a parent, caregiver, or preschool teacher, protecting them is a necessity that must be maintained while monitoring them to carry out activities that can support their growth and development.