First Aid and CPR are the most versatile skill set you can learn as a parent. Not only are these skills a key part of the overall emergency preparedness, but it can also save lives in everyday emergencies including with your little ones.
As we know, infants and young children are more vulnerable to accidents and when they do – it is more difficult to determine when something is wrong. Compared to adults, infants and children can not specify which part they are hurting or what accident they are involved in.
When it comes to topics concerning infants and young children, parents show the most interest especially in those skills that could potentially save and prevent their children from harm. However, it is surprising and also alarming how many parents do not have the confidence of the current knowledge on how to respond to basic first aid emergencies involving infants and young children.
Studies have found out that injuries are the leading cause of death in Australian children, accounting for more than half (88%) of all recorded fatalities.
- One in 13 children visits hospitals in hospitals for unintentional injuries and emergencies every year.
- More children die of injury than cancer, asthma, and other infectious diseases combined.
- Over 250 children with an age range of 0 to 14 are killed due to intentional injuries or accidents. An estimate of 58,000 children is hospitalised for the same cause every year.
- Many of these ‘accidents’ or unintentional injuries are preventable.
The facts above highlight the percentage of infant and child deaths due to unintentional injuries, which mostly occur at home. According to a poll conducted by the CS Mott Hospital in 2017, an alarming number of parents are not sure how to respond to a variety of emergencies involving children, unintentionally placing their kids at risk.
Parents are the ones responsible for making decisions on whether to administer first aid at home, consult a doctor, or seek emergency care. Without proper first aid knowledge, it can be a confusing and nerve-wracking experience for parents to make the right decision.
With that said, here are the most common emergencies for infants and young children by First aid pro, A leading first aid course in Melbourne:
- Febrile Convulsions
In this blog post, we will explore more about the most common first aid emergencies among infants and babies, with the recommended tips on how to handle them.
Febrile convulsions or febrile seizures are commonly caused by fever or high temperature. This is not epilepsy and usually short lived and will not cause brain damage. Febrile convulsion symptoms usually exhibit involuntary twitching or jerking of arms and legs, eye-rolling, and loss of consciousness.
When this happens, try to remain calm and do not panic. Keep your child in a safe position, usually on the floor, to avoid falling and banging their heads on the walls. Do not restrain, shake, or slap your child, and do not put anything in their mouth. Once the convulsion stopped, roll the child onto their side, also known as the recovery position/. If the fit or convulsion lasts longer than five minutes, dial Triple Zero, and ask for an ambulance.
Choking is probably one of the scariest emergencies a parent may encounter. A child who is choking is unable to cry, breathe, or make any noise at all. Recognising signs of choking is important as it can be a matter of life and death for your child.
For infants below one-year-old, carefully place them in a stomach-down position across your forearm. Give five quick, forceful blows in their back using the heel of your hand.
Appropriate treatment will depend on what type of choking and the age-range of an individual but may include back blows and administering CPR.
For more detail, child and baby CPR, please refer to one of our blogs. (attach link)
If your children fall into the water, the first thing you need to do, bring them out of the water. Once they are on the surface, do a primary survey. Check for breathing and responsiveness of the child.
If unresponsive, begin CPR immediately. Ask a bystander to call emergency services while you start CPR. Ask them to find and bring a defibrillator, if available in the area.
When performing CPR, start by opening up their airway. Place one hand to the child’s forehead and tilt their head back. Pinch the soft part of their nose closed and give five initial rescue breaths. Gently blow into their mouths until the chest arises. Then remove the mouth and watch the chest fall. Do this up to five times.
If the child is still unresponsive, we need to give compressions. Kneel by the child and place your one hand in the center of the chest. Push down a third of depth releasing the pressure allowing the chest to come back up. Repeat this at least 30 times with a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
Do alternating rescue breaths and compression. Monitor the child’s level of response and prepare to give CPR again if the situation requires it.
Fall injuries are common in infants and young children and even though most fall injuries are not critical, the injuries sustained from the fall from heights remain one of the leading causes of death among children globally.
For minor fall injuries, including small cuts and wounds, clean it with water, apply an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling. Warp the ice using cloth or towel before applying it to the skin. Use dressing and bandages to stop minimal bleeding.
For major fall injuries, call triple zero (000) immediately. Major injury signs include heavy bleeding from the nose, ears, mouth, and the injured site. There is difficulty in breathing or the child is unable to move or unconscious. If suspected of a head, neck, or back injury, bring them to the hospital right away.
A fever or high temperature is alarming for infants and young children. Fever often relates that there is something wrong with the body and it is not working as it should in fighting off infection.
Seek medical care if an infant younger than 3 months old has a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher. Continue monitoring their condition and get medical treatment when needed.
Child poisoning often happens at home. Most cases can be treated at home but there are times where a child will need emergency medical care.
If you find them with an open or empty container that has a toxic substance, there is a possibility that your infant or child is poisoned. When this happens, act quickly and get the poison away from them.
If there are visible stains in the mouth area, have them spit it out or remove them using your fingers. Call your child’s health care provider or the local poison control center for instructions.
When going to the closest emergency room, take the poison container to let the healthcare provider know what type of poison your child has swallowed.
The most important thing for parents is to equip themselves with all the correct skills to use in a child emergency. It is critical to have the skills and knowledge to provide appropriate treatment. What happens during and after emergency care can make all the difference.