accessibility & help

British Red Cross First Aid for Christmas

19 December 2013

Red bauble on Christmas tree

For further information contact:
Henry Makiwa 0207 877 7479/
On call mobile: 0771 0391703


Take the British Red Cross’ advice and download its innovative free mobile first aid apps – it could save you a trip to hospital this Christmas.

Burns are the most common type of injury at this time of year, according to studies. Latest figures show that over a 1000 accidents related to fairy lights and candle fires where recorded during the festive period.1

Joe Mulligan, the head of British Red Cross first aid education said: “A&E admissions have spiralled by 48 per cent in the last decade, putting real pressure on hospitals. Over the festive period accidents do happen, yet our research shows a shockingly low use of first aid by patients before visiting A&E.
“Our First Aid app and the Baby and Child app are free and provide easy to follow first aid advice that could save lives, and reduce injury and suffering.”
With so many festive dangers around – a burn from your Christmas pud, a cut while carving the turkey or even choking on a sprout – the charity is urging members of the public to make use of the mobile apps for basic first aid advice.

The British Red Cross First Aid app, which is two years old on Christmas day, is a cross platform application featuring videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice - allowing users to save lives at a swipe of their touchscreens.

The British Red Cross’ updated Baby and Child smartphone and tablet app is free to download on Apple’s iTunes store and the Google Play marketplace. The app is designed to equip parents, guardians and carers of babies and young children with simple and easy to learn first aid skills.

The Red Cross additionally offers a free online educational resource called Everyday First Aid on the charity’s website.


1 Source: 2011/12 Fire Statistics Great Britain from the Department for Communities and Local Government.


First Aid Tips:

The dangers of the Christmas pudding!

Everybody loves a Christmas pudding over the festive period but have you ever stopped to think about the dangers that could lurk within that little bowl of steaming loveliness?”! 

Joe Mulligan, Head of First Aid Education at the British Red Cross says, “There is a large increase in accidents over the Christmas period, especially in the home and it is important that people have the necessary skills in order to help someone who may need first aid”.

  • Tradition places a coin in the pudding and brings wealth to the person who finds it in their serving, great! You think, but what if you miss it and start to choke?!

Cough it up! If you see someone choking, tilt them forwards and give them up to 5 back blows in between the shoulder blades to dislodge the item. If you have no luck with this, perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich manoeuvre). Stand behind the person, make a fist with one hand and place your other hand on top. Push on the soft part of the abdomen in a quick, hard movement inwards and upwards in an attempt to assist the person to cough up the object.

  • Another tradition is to pour your favourite tipple over the pudding and set light to it! This may look pretty but it could potentially be very dangerous if someone gets burned.

If you do receive a burn this Christmas, put it under cold, running water for at least ten minutes and then loosely wrap it in some kitchen film. This will stop infection and also has a cooling effect. If you are in any doubt about the seriousness of the burn, or it is a child who has been burned, seek medical attention.

  • In your excitement to reach the pudding first, be careful not to trip, slip or tumble over the Christmas tree! Over the 12 day Christmas period, it is estimated that over 80,000 people will end up in hospital due to accidents in the home (ROSPA).

If someone has fallen and received a sprain or strain, follow the R.I.C.E procedure: Rest the injured part, apply an Ice pack or cold compress (a pack of peas are great!) provide Comfortable support, and Elevate the injured part. If the pain is severe or they are unable to use the injured part, seek medical advice.

  • Having demolished the Christmas pudding you might start to feel a little bloated. You may develop indigestion or heartburn which causes pain/burning in the chest. This mostly eases with time or on taking medication but can sometimes be mistaken for more serious conditions like a heart attack.

Heart attacks can cause a person to experience acute chest pain (which often spreads to the jaw and arms), breathlessness, develop ‘ashen’ coloured skin and start sweating - these symptoms will not ease with rest. Make the person comfortable and place in half sitting position (head supported and knees bent), call 999 and reassure them until help arrives. If not allergic, you can also get them to chew 300mg of aspirin slowly which will help with the blood flow.

The most important message is to know basic first aid skills so that you feel confident and willing to help if needed – after all, what better present could you give this Christmas than saving a life!


Notes to editors
•          For interviews, photography, case studies or more information, please contact Henry Makiwa (  0207 877 7479)
•          For more easy to follow first aid advice visit or download the free Red Cross first aid app
•          The British Red Cross’ First Aid app has been downloaded over 700,000 times, and gone on to be the template for global downloads in excess of 2.8 million since it came on the market 3 years ago.
•          The British Red Cross’ Baby and Child app on the other hand, has been downloaded more than 100 000 times since its launch in late May this year.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.
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