Knowing what to do when an accident happens can be the difference between life or death, so it's not just adults who benefit from getting to grips with the basics. Simple first aid is important for your little one to know right from the get-go so that they can help if they're ever in an emergency situation.
One of the most important lessons you can teach your child is how to call for an ambulance if they ever need to. Show them how to unlock your phone and ask them regularly what number they would call.
If help is on the way they can then help in lots of ways that could potentially save a life, or at very least make the victim more comfortable. From how to stop someone choking to what to do when somebody has burned themselves, here's what they should know, to be able to help if one of these common accidents should happen…
If someone is chokingAlthough younger children won't be able to perform the Heimlich maneuver, which is most often cited as the best way to stop somebody choking, they will still be able to assist. Children can aid a choking person by asking them to signal for help firstly.
If the person cannot cough and has signalled for help they can then use the heel of their hand to give a few sharp back slaps between the person's shoulder blades. When performed successfully the force from this can dislodge objects from the throat.
Watch this video with your child to help them learn the basics. It might look a bit old fashioned, but the advice remains the same.
If someone is unconscious, but still breathingHelping someone into the recovery position isn't too difficult for a child if you've shown them how a few times. In this video the little boy demonstrates on his mum how to do just that. If the person was on their back your child would firstly kneel beside them then and place the arm nearest to them at a right angle (or 'triangle' for younger children) to the person's body, making sure their hand is facing upwards and is pointing towards their head. Then they would tuck the person's other hand under their cheek, palm down.
Next they would bend the knee nearest to them upwards into another right angle. Little ones can then push on the raised knee to move the unconscious person onto their side. Finally they can tip the person's chin upwards slightly to open their airway. Now they should call for help on 999.
If someone has burned themselvesA burn needs to be treated as soon as possible to minimise the harm done. This means cooling the burn site down immediately. Children can help by removing any clothing or jewellery and running cold water over the injury, or applying an ice pack, frozen peas or anything else cool. Finally they should help minimise the risk of infection by covering the burn with a non-stick material like cling film or a plastic bag. If it's a serious burn they made need to call 999 for help. This video by the British Red Cross has some catchy advice that will appeal to children as well as adults.
If somebody is bleedingThe most important task is obviously to stop the bleeding. If it's a bad wound children should know to press firmly on the site of the cut to help slow the blood flow. They can use kitchen paper, a tea towel or even their jumper to press on the wound. If possible they should raise the part of the body that is bleeding to slow the bleeding.
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