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  • Writer's pictureYaya Middle East

First Aid for Kids

Updated: Feb 23

Having children or working with children mandates the need to be prepared for any emergencies that might come up. One essential skill to have is the knowledge of first aid for children. Regardless of whether you're a parent, nanny, or family member tasked with child supervision, understanding how to administer first aid can be crucial in times of emergencies. Interested in learning more about first aid for kids? Continue reading for a mini crash course!

First aid may vary when it comes to children and babies as they require different care and attention compared to adults

First aid for kids: Just like general first aid, first aid for children entails knowing how to act promptly and correctly in life-threatening situations, especially when a child is physically hurt. However, the application of first aid may vary when it comes to children and babies as they require different care and attention compared to adults.

First aid can range from treating minor wounds such as cuts and scrapes to more severe situations like choking, loss of consciousness, or acute allergic reactions. While nobody wishes for accidents or emergencies, preparedness can be the difference between life and death when caring for a child. Therefore, having the right knowledge and skills in first aid is essential in ensuring their safety and wellbeing.

Mother putting bandaid on her toddler
First aid with children can often times be more psychological than physical

How to equip yourself with first aid knowledge. Fortunately, there are numerous resources available to help you expand your knowledge and skills in first aid.

First Aid for Kids: Training Courses

Taking up a specialized first aid course for children and babies is a practical and reliable way to learn this skill. These courses often include virtual lessons, tests, and hands-on practice led by seasoned instructors.

Organizations like the Red Cross or Safe Hands in the UAE offer first aid courses, and there are also many free online courses available. While online courses are informative, they may lack hands-on practice. In addition to generic first aid courses, there are specialized courses on:

  • First aid for babies

  • First aid for children

  • First aid for adults

  • Online first aid courses

  • CPR courses for adults & children

By enrolling in a first aid course, you can learn:

  • How to stay calm and react appropriately in different emergency situations.

  • The immediate steps to take in critical situations while waiting for professional medical help. This knowledge can be life-saving, especially when dealing with young children.

Is a First Aid Certificate mandatory in Childcare? In some areas or for certain childcare positions, holding a valid first aid certificate may be a requirement. As for babysitters, they are typically not required to have a first aid certificate (but it helps). Despite this, a working knowledge of first aid is invaluable for babysitters. It helps them be prepared for any emergency situations, and can make them more appealing to parents who may be willing to pay more for this additional expertise.

In case of an emergency, you can call the following numbers while anywhere in the UAE: 999 for Police. 998 for Ambulance. 997 for Fire Department (Civil Defence)

First Aid for Kids: Yaya's Quick Guide

While a comprehensive first aid course is highly recommended, here are some tips on how to handle common first aid situations involving children:

  1. Home Medical Kit: Yaya recommends every household should buy a medical kit they keep at home and in their car. First-aid kits help you handle medical emergencies as quickly as possible. In an emergency, any delays could cause irreconcilable damage. These kits offer basic and instant care for common medical injuries like injuries, burns, cuts etc and can be bought at any major pharmacy or online retailers like Amazon. Here are some item to consider adding to your kit:

  • Antiseptic wipes

  • Non-latex gloves

  • Antibiotic ointment

  • Bandaids in various sizes and shapes

  • Gauze pads

  • Roller gauze bandage

  • Medical tape

  • Tweezers

  • Cold compresses

  • Thermometer

  • Doctor-approved pain medication for children (check with your doctor for dosages)

  • Antihistamines for children

  • Hand sanitizer

  • A basic first aid manual

  1. Nosebleeds: When a child has a nosebleed, have them sit with their head slightly tilted forward, similar to their position while drawing. This position helps the blood drain from their mouth or nose, preventing nausea from swallowing blood. Pinch their nose just below the nose bone for 5 minutes (do this for them if they can't do it themselves). If the bleeding continues after this time, seek medical help.

  2. Bumped Head: Most head injuries are minor and do not result in serious problems. But knowing what to do and what to look out for can make all the difference. When your child bumps their head, do the following: Watch for signs of concussion. Wrap an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a thin towel and hold it against the area to reduce swelling. You can also offer acetaminophen for pain (don't give ibuprofen to a child with a head injury. The drug might increase bleeding, which can be dangerous when there's the potential risk of a brain injury). If your child seems like their usual self, watch them for changes in symptoms or behavior. Rest is part of the treatment for a concussion, and most young children will need some after even a minor head injury.

  3. Poisoning: If a child has ingested a toxic substance, immediately call for emergency medical assistance if they become unconscious or struggle with breathing. In less severe cases, contact your healthcare provider for advice. If a caustic poison has been swallowed, have the child rinse their mouth with water (if possible) and spit it out. Take the remaining poison or its container with you if you need to go to the hospital.

  4. Cuts & Scrapes: Some cuts need immediate Medical assistance. Seek help for any cuts that have heavy bleeding, involve the child's head or face or you cannot stop after 15-20 minutes. For small cuts or scrapes, rinse the wound thoroughly with water to clean out dirt and debris. Wash the wound with a mild soap and rinse well. (For minor wounds, you don't need to use an antiseptic solution to prevent infection, and some can cause allergic skin reactions.) Cover the wound with a sterile adhesive bandage or sterile gauze and adhesive tape. If the bandage gets wet, remove it and apply a new one. After the wound forms a scab, a bandage isn't needed. Check the wound daily. Call your doctor if the wound is red, swollen, tender, warm, or draining pus.

  5. Burns: Children may experience burns from encountering hot or boiling water or hot objects, such as hot irons. The first thing you need to do in these situations is remove your child from the object or substance. You can run cool water over the burn to soothe the pain. Applying ice or other substances is not recommended. Burns with blisters and burns that are deep or very large may require medical care.

  6. Insect or Animal Bite: If your child gets stung and the stinger is still lodged in their skin, you need to remove it. You can use cold compresses to decrease swelling and pain. Most bug bites are simply itchy and uncomfortable. If your child seems very uncomfortable or the bites are unusually swollen, talk to your doctor about ointments that might help as well as over-the-counter antihistamines. If your child is bitten by an animal, you will need to visit the doctor to make sure your child doesn’t need a tetanus or rabies vaccine. If your child is bitten by a snake and you don’t know what kind of snake bit your child, you should visit the emergency room, as the snake may be poisonous.

  7. Twisted Ankle: Treat minor twisted ankles at home by applying "R.I.C.E" which is an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation. Have your child lie down and elevate their injured ankle above the level of their heart with an ice pack draped over it. Wrap a bandage around the ankle to help prevent swelling. Ibuprofen can also help reduce pain and swelling.

  8. Choking: If a child can't respond to you, get someone to call 998 or dial it yourself and put the phone on speaker. Start to administer the Heimlich maneuver until help arrives:

    1. Stand behind your child.

    2. Wrap your arms around their waist.

    3. Make a fist, and place the thumb side of your fist against their upper abdomen (just below their rib cage and above their belly button).

    4. Now, grasp your fist with your other hand.

    5. Perform quick, upward thrusts until the item is expelled.

  9. Allergic Reactions: If your child has a benign allergic reaction, they may sneeze, have a runny nose, or have a rash. You can treat mild allergies at home with over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines or creams. However, some allergic reactions are severe—this is called anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

    • Wheezing

    • Coughing

    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

    • Hives

    • Skin that turns pale or blue

    • Lip or tongue swelling

    • Nasal symptoms, like sneezing and runny nose

    • Hoarseness

    • Weak pulse

    • Vomiting

    • Diarrhea

    • Dizziness or fainting

    • Confusion or agitation

In infants, these symptoms may appear as excessive sleepiness, fussiness, and drooling. If you have epinephrine (commonly called an "epi-pen"), use it. If you do not have one, call 999 immediately.

A Word from Yaya

Getting informed ahead of time is incredibly valuable in preparing for any unexpected child-related emergencies. Additionally, taking preventive measures is crucial. This involves childproofing your home and maintaining constant supervision over your children. Nevertheless, even the most knowledgeable and cautious parents can find themselves facing unforeseen situations. In such instances, trust your parental instincts when it comes to safeguarding your child. And if you ever have doubts, don't hesitate to seek medical assistance. It's always a wise decision to do so, ensuring the well-being of your child.

For more information, we recommend reading these helpful guidelines by the NHS.

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