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Fast first aid tips
Not much time?
Check out these simple first aid tips to help keep children safe.

First aid for a baby who is choking


Key skill: Give back blows and chest thrusts

1. Give up to five back blows. Hold the baby face down along your forearm with their head lower
than their bottom and hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades. If back blows
do not dislodge the object, move on to step two.

2. Give up to five chest thrusts. Turn the baby over so they 1


are facing upwards and place two fingers in the middle of
their chest just below the nipples. Push inwards and
upwards. If chest thrusts do not dislodge the object,
repeat steps one and two. (Figure 1)

3. Call 999 if the object has not dislodged after three cycles of back blows and chest thrusts.

First aid for a child who is choking


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. Give up to five abdominal thrusts. Hold the child around 2


the waist and pull inwards and upwards above the child’s
belly button. If abdominal thrusts do not dislodge the
object, repeat steps one and two. (Figure 2)

3. Call 999 if the object has not dislodged after three cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts.

redcross.org.uk/childrenfirstaid
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First aid for a baby who is unconscious and not breathing


Key skill: Give rescue breaths and chest compressions

1. Check 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 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.

First aid for a child who is unconscious and not breathing


Key skill: Give continuous rescue breaths and chest compressions

1. Check 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.

redcross.org.uk/childrenfirstaid
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First aid for burns


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.

First aid for a baby who is unconscious and breathing


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.

First aid for a child who is unconscious and breathing


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.

First aid for meningitis


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.

redcross.org.uk/childrenfirstaid
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First aid for a febrile seizure


Key skill: Protect them from injury and reduce their temperature

The child may be twitching (limbs and face), arch their back, stiffen their body and have clenched fists.
They look red-faced, are hot to touch and sweating.

1. Protect the child from injury. Do not restrain them.

2. Remove outer clothing to help cool them.

3. When the seizure is over, help the child to rest on their side with their head tilted back.
If the symptoms continue or it is their first seizure, seek medical advice.

First aid for a severe allergic reaction


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.

First aid for a broken bone


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.

redcross.org.uk/childrenfirstaid
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First aid for poisoning and harmful substances


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

1. Establish what they have taken, when and how much.

2. Call 999.

First aid for a head injury


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.

First aid for an asthma attack


Key skill: Help them take their medication

1. Help the child to sit in a comfortable position and to take their medication.

2. Reassure the child. If the attack becomes severe, or they don’t have their medication, call 999.

First aid for bleeding heavily


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.

redcross.org.uk/childrenfirstaid
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First aid for a nosebleed


Key skill: Pinch the soft part of the nose and lean forward

1. Pinch the soft part of the child’s nose and ask them to lean forward.

2. Continue to pinch the soft part of their nose for ten minutes.

3. Seek medical advice if the bleeding continues for more than half an hour.

First aid for a seizure (epilepsy)


Key skill: Make them safe and prevent injury

The child has collapsed and is making sudden jerking movements.

1. Use a blanket or clothing to protect their head from injury. Do not restrain them.

2. When the seizure is over, help the child to rest on their side with their head tilted back.

3. Call 999 if necessary.

First aid for fever


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.

redcross.org.uk/childrenfirstaid
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First aid for croup


Key skill: Sit the child up and help them breathe in a steamy atmosphere

The child has difficulty breathing, and a short barking cough. Their cough may also sound like
crowing or whistling.

1. When you observe these symptoms, sit the child up and create a steamy atmosphere by
boiling a kettle or running a bath.

2. Encourage the child to relax enough to breathe in the steam, and if the symptoms continue
seek medical advice.

First aid for vomiting and diarrhoea


Key skill: Ensure they rest and drink small sips of water often

1. Give the child drinks of boiled water that’s been cooled. Encourage them to drink small sips often.

2. Let the child rest.

3. If symptoms persist seek medical advice.

redcross.org.uk/childrenfirstaid