accessibility & help

British Red Cross marks World First Aid Day

13 September 2013

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From a peanut jammed up the nostril to a hand stuck in a Pringles’ tube, a poll of UK parents has revealed an unusual raft of scrapes encountered by children.

The British Red Cross research showed one in ten parents said their child had pushed something so far up their nose it had become stuck, while a fifth of parents said their child had either lodged something in their ear or had a body part trapped somewhere, such as a head in railings or a leg between banister beams.

The most common items to be stuck up the nose were beads, peas and toy parts while the most unusual included an e-cigarette, a piece of ham and a plastic dog’s bone.

The study marks World First Aid Day on September 14 and the launch of the Red Cross’s updated free Baby and Child first aid app which contains straightforward advice on how to help youngsters in an emergency.

Joe Mulligan, head of first aid education at the Red Cross, said:

“We’ve seen almost everything in this poll – from a watch battery in the ear to a hand trapped in a tube of Pringles crisps. 

“Although they may seem like freak accidents, it shows that the oddest incidents can and frequently do happen, especially to children.” 

But despite the prevalence of bizarre accidents, a fifth of parents did not know how to help their child beyond calling an ambulance or doctor and more than 40 per cent of all parents with a child under 13 admitted to having no first aid training at all.

 “It’s really important that parents have first aid awareness,” said Mulligan.

“Basic first aid knowledge can help adults cope with the strangest of circumstances as well as more common incidents such as cuts and bruises, burns and choking.”

British Red Cross trainers will also be giving free first aid demonstrations in selected Mothercare stores between October 6 and 13 as part of Mothercare’s Baby & Me events. To find out more or to download the Baby and Child app, go to

Later this autumn, some of the British Red Cross’ first aid advice for children will be featured in the hit children’s television series, Operation Ouch, hosted by star doctors, Drs Chris and Xand van Tulleken.

Dr Xand said: "We have seen a whole array of accident-related injuries at work; on our travels and while shooting the new series of Operation Ouch. From a screw jammed up the nostril, to a potty stuck on the head, we know emergencies can happen to anyone.

“What’s important is having the confidence to respond in such emergencies and knowing what to do or who to ask for help. That’s why we support the Red Cross’ calls to have all children in the UK taught first aid,” he added.


Notes to editors
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. 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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The poll of 1436 people was carried out for the Red Cross by Opinium between Sept 9 and 11 2013.
Common items stuck up the nose:
Toys or toy parts
Toilet paper or tissue
Strangest items stuck up the nose:
A piece of ham
A ball bearing gun pellet teenagers had left on the ground
Electronic cigarette
Eye from a teddy bear
Toy plastic dog’s bone

Most common items stuck in the ear:
Cotton wool bud
Rubber from a pencil
Baked beans

Strangest items stuck in the ear:
Watch battery
Half a button

Body parts commonly trapped:


Common places for a body part to become trapped:
Gate (mostly child-proof gates)

Strangest places for a body part to become stuck:
Toy Barbie car
Pringles’ tube
Bike wheel

• Operation Ouch returns on CBBC this autumn and is produced by Maverick. For more information visit: