First aid for family days out


Last updated 15 June 2023

As summer finally brings hot and sunny weather, many of us are getting out and about with little ones. Here's how to keep your family safe in the great outdoors.

Playing in the park: first aid for bites and stings

A local park or garden is a lovely place to spend a fresh, sunny day with babies and children, exploring the flora and fauna.

When we come out to explore, though, so do insects, and bites and stings can sometimes happen. Usually a sting from a bee, wasp or hornet is painful rather than dangerous, but here’s how you can help:

  1. If the sting is visible on the skin, use the edge of a credit card to scrape it away.
  2. Apply an ice-pack such as frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel to the affected area for up to 20 minutes. It'll help reduce swelling and pain.
  3. If you see any signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing, a rash, swelling or itchy skin on the baby or child’s hands, feet or face, call 999.

Picnic in the garden: first aid for choking

You don’t have to go far from home for a family day out – a picnic in the garden works just as well. But in all the excitement of eating outdoors, a bit of food could slip down the wrong way.

If a baby (under the age of one) is choking, they will be unable to cry, cough, make any noise or breathe. Here’s how to help:

  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 blockage, move on to step 2.
  2. Give up to five chest thrusts: turn the baby over so they are facing upwards. 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 blockage does not dislodge. If you can’t call 999, get someone else to do it. Continue with cycles of five back blows and chest thrusts until the blockage dislodges, help arrives or the baby becomes unresponsive (they’re not moving and don’t respond when you call them or tap their foot).

If a child (over the age of one) is choking here’s how to help:


  1. Encourage them to cough. If the blockage is severe, they may be holding their chest or neck and won’t be able to speak, breathe or cough, and you will need to help them. 
  2. Bend them forward and give up to five back blows to try and dislodge the blockage. Hit them firmly on their back with the heel of your hand between the shoulder blades.  
  3. If they are still choking, give up to 5 abdominal thrusts: hold around the waist and pull inwards and upwards above their belly button. 
  4. If they are still choking call 999. Repeat the steps until they can breathe again, or help arrives. 

Sandcastles at the seaside: first aid for sunburn

When the sun shines, a trip to the seaside is a must. Dig out those dusty buckets and spades, make sure you have change for ice creams, and take to the sand with the little ones.

But don’t forget that as you’re building the world’s best sandcastle, the sun is beating its rays down on you.

When it comes to sunburn, prevention is better than cure. So, make sure you apply and continue to reapply high factor sun cream and encourage children to play in the shade, especially when the sun is at its hottest. Pop on a hat and cover delicate skin with light clothing.

If a child does have sunburn, here’s how you can help:

  1. Move them into the shade.
  2. Encourage them to have frequent sips of cold water and cool the affected skin by dabbing with cold water.
  3. Apply after sun lotion to soothe the area.
  4. If the sunburn is severe or covering a large area of their body, seek medical attention.

Cycling in the countryside: first aid for a broken bone

Taking a bike ride in the woods or countryside is a great way for the kids to blow off some steam in the fresh air.

But if a little one takes a fall and you think they may have broken a bone, here’s how you can help.

  1. Support and cushion the injury using whatever you have available - such as rolled up clothing - to prevent unnecessary movement.
  2. Call 999 as soon as possible.
  3. Continue supporting the injury until help arrives.

Bouncing on the trampoline: first aid for a bump on the head

Trampolines generate instant joy for little ones.

All that springing about can lead to mishaps though, so it always helps to be prepared for bumps and falls.

If your child bounces a bit too enthusiastically and bumps their head, they may have pain or a headache. There may be a bump on their head and they may look pale. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Get them to rest and apply something cold to the injury: for example, frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel for up to 20 minutes.
  2. Call 999 if the child gets drowsy, repeatedly vomits or their condition gets worse. This could be a sign of a serious injury to the head. If you can’t call 999, get someone else to do it.   

Unfortunately, it’s the end of their trampolining for a while. The current advice is that they shouldn’t take part in sports (including bouncing) until they have fully recovered, or have been seen by a medical professional.  

Find out more

If you’d like to learn more, the free Baby and Child First Aid app is packed with animations, videos, tips, and quizzes. Once downloaded, the app doesn’t need to connect to the internet, making it fast and easy to use wherever you are.