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Baby and Child First Aid

Baby and Child First Aid: fast first aid tips

This page is a quick reference guide to all the key skills you'll need for treating the first aid scenarios in this resource.

Whatever you're facing – from an asthma attack to a head injury – these handy fast first aid tips will tell you how you can help.

First aid for a baby who is choking

How to help

Key skill:Give back blows and chest thrusts.

  1. Give up to five back blows. Hold the baby face down along your thigh with their head lower than their bottom. Hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades up to five times. If back blows do not dislodge the object, move on to step two.New baby chest thrusts
  2. Give up to five chest thrusts. Turn the baby over so they are facing upwards and place two fingers in the middle of their chest just below the nipples. Push sharply downwards up to five times.
  3. Call 999 if the object does not dislodge. Continue with cycles of back blows and chest thrusts, until the object dislodges, help arrives or the baby becomes unresponsive.
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First aid for a child who is choking

How to help

Key skill:Give back blows and abdominal thrusts

  1. Give up to five back blows. Hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades. If back blows do not dislodge the object, move on to step two.
  2. Child being given abdominal thrustsGive up to five abdominal thrusts. Hold the child around the waist and pull inwards and upwards above their belly button.
  3. Call 999, If the object does not dislodge. Continue with cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts, until the object dislodges, help arrives or the child becomes unresponsive.
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First aid for a baby who is unresponsive and not breathing

How to help

Key skill:Give rescue breaths and chest compressions.

  1. Check for breathing by tilting their head back and looking and feeling for breaths.
  2. Tell someone to call 999. (If you are on your own, carry out rescue breaths and chest compressions as described below for one minute, and then call 999.)  
  3. Give five rescue breaths. Tilt their head back, seal your mouth over their mouth and nose and blow five times into the baby.
  4. Give 30 chest compressions. Push firmly in the middle of their chest with two fingers so that the chest goes inward, then release.
  5. Give two rescue breaths, then continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until help arrives.
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First aid for a child who is unresponsive and not breathing

How to help

Key skill:Give rescue breaths and chest compressions.

  1. Check for breathing by tilting their head back and looking and feeling for breaths.
  2. Tell someone to call 999. (If you are on your own, carry out rescue breaths and chest compressions as described below for one minute, and then call 999.)  
  3. Give five rescue breaths. Tilt their head back, seal your mouth over their mouth and pinch their nose. Blow five times into the child.
  4. Give 30 chest compressions. Push firmly in the middle of their chest with one hand so the chest goes inward, then release.
  5. Give two rescue breaths, then continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until help arrives.
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First aid for burns

How to help

Key skill:Cool the burn.

  1. Cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes.
  2. Cover the burn with cling film, or a clean plastic bag.
  3. Call 999 if necessary.
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First aid for a baby who is unresponsive and breathing

How to help

Key skill:Hold the baby on their side with their head tilted back.

  1. Check breathing by tilting their head back and looking and feeling for breaths.
  2. Hold the baby on their side with their head slightly tilted back, supported and lower than their bottom.
  3. Call 999.
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First aid for a child who is unresponsive and breathing

How to help

Key skill:Move the child onto their side and tilt their head back.

  1. Check breathing by tilting their head back and looking and feeling for breaths.
  2. Move them onto their side and tilt their head back.
  3. Call 999.
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First aid for meningitis

How to help

Key skill:Call 999 if you observe any of the symptoms.

The baby or child may have flu-like symptoms, a headache and a high temperature. They may also complain of a stiff neck and be sensitive to light. At a later stage, a rash may form (that does not disappear when a glass is pressed against it).

  1. If you observe any of these symptoms, call 999.
  2. Give them constant reassurance while waiting for the ambulance.
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First aid for a severe allergic reaction

How to help

Key skill:Call 999 when you observe the symptoms.

The baby or child may develop a red, blotchy rash, itchiness or swelling on their hands, feet or face. Their breathing may slow down.

  1. When you observe any of these symptoms, call 999. 
  2. When there is a known allergy, use their auto-injector, following the recommended guidance.
  3. Reassure the baby or child, and make them as comfortable as possible while you wait for the ambulance.
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First aid for a broken bone

How to help

Key skill:Keep the injury still and supported.

  1. Support the injury with cushions or items of clothing to prevent unnecessary movement.
  2. Call 999.
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First aid for poisoning and harmful substances

How to help

Key skill:Establish what? When? And how much?

  1. Establish what they have taken, when and how much.
  2. Call 999.
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First aid for a head injury

How to help

Key skill:Apply something cold.

  1. Get the baby or child to rest and apply something cold to the injury (e.g. frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel).
  2. If they become drowsy, vomit, or their condition deteriorates call 999.
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First aid for bleeding heavily

How to help

Key skill:Put pressure on the wound.

  1. Put pressure on the wound with whatever is available to stop or slow down the flow of blood.
  2. Call 999.
  3. Keep pressure on the wound until help arrives.
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First aid for a fever

How to help

Key skill:Reduce their temperature.

The baby or child has a raised temperature (above 37°C), hot, flushed skin and is sweating.

  1. Check their temperature by using a thermometer. 
  2. Remove excess clothes and give them fluids such as water or diluted juice. 
  3. Give the recommended dose of paracetamol syrup.
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