Kids Health: Learn Paediatric First Aid

Paediatric First Aid

Learning paediatric first aid is invaluable for any parent, guardian, or caregiver. Knowing how to quickly and effectively respond to a medical emergency can help save a child’s life. 

First aid courses teach vital skills in paediatric care, such as CPR, the Heimlich manoeuvre, and how to treat common injuries. With the right training and regular practice, it’s possible to develop the confidence and know-how to respond to any situation. 

Learning paediatric first aid can also give parents and caregivers peace of mind when their children are at home, playing outdoors, or caring for others. Knowing what to do in an emergency can help a parent stay calm and take the right steps to keep their child safe. 

Finally, having a basic understanding of first aid can also help adults recognize when an injury needs medical attention, ensuring a child gets the care they need. With the right knowledge, you can ensure you’re prepared for any medical emergency. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of paediatric first aid.

What Is Paediatric First Aid?

Paediatric first aid refers to the emergency care and treatment of injuries and illnesses that affect children. The ability to appropriately administer first aid in an emergency is a crucial skill for parents, carers, and anybody who works or is in contact with children.

Paediatric First Aid

Some common injuries and illnesses that may require paediatric first aid include:

  • Choking
  • Bleeding
  • Epilepsy
  • Seizures 
  • Burns
  • Fractures
  • Poisoning
  • Heat stroke
  • Hypothermia
  • Bites, stings and skin allergies

If your child is injured or becomes ill, you should remain calm and assess the situation. If your child is not breathing, choking, or unresponsive, call 000 immediately.

If the situation is not life-threatening, follow the steps below to provide first aid:

  • Keep the child as still as possible and try to comfort them.
  • The bleeding must be stopped by putting direct pressure on the region with a sterile bandage or towel.
  • If the child is experiencing a seizure, gently roll them onto their side and clear any objects away from their mouth. Do not try to hold them down or put anything in their mouth.
  • If the child is choking, try to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre or back blows to dislodge the object.
  • Hold the child’s burned area under cool water for 10 minutes, then apply a sterile, dry bandage.
  • If the child has swallowed a poison, call the poison control centre immediately and follow their instructions. Do not try to induce vomiting unless instructed to do so.
  • If the child has a fever, give them acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce their temperature and make them more comfortable.

Get medical help immediately if you recognise any of the signs and symptoms of a stroke in a child. Remember, the most important thing is to remain calm and call for emergency help. Knowing how to administer first aid properly can help keep your child safe and healthy.

Child with fever

Who Needs Paediatric First Aid Training?

There are no specific legal requirements for paediatric first aid training in Australia. However, it is highly recommended for anyone who works with or cares for children, such as parents, teachers, childcare providers, and others. 

Training in paediatric first aid can give individuals the knowledge and skills necessary to react to situations related to children effectively and safely.

The well-being and security of the kids in your care depend on your preparedness for emergencies like these.

Does Paediatric First Aid Differ From Normal First Aid At Work?

Paediatric first aid is similar to first aid for adults, but there are some important differences. Children’s bodies differ from adults and can react differently to injuries and illnesses.

While the principles of first aid remain the same – assessing the situation, calling for help, providing care – certain actions need to be taken when providing first aid to a child that is not necessary when providing first aid to an adult. 

To ensure the safety of children, adults must know how to respond in an unexpected situation. Therefore, paediatric first aid training focuses on the specific needs of children, including how to administer first aid to infants, children, and adolescents.

Paediatric first aid does differ from normal first aid in a few key ways:

Paediatric first aid is specialised care that is designed specifically for children. In contrast, general first aid is care that is appropriate for adults.

Here are some key differences between paediatric first aid and general first aid:

  • Treatment Based On Age: Paediatric first aid is tailored to the specific needs of children, taking into account their smaller size, developing bodies, and potential for panic or fear during an emergency. General first aid is appropriate for adults and may not always be the most appropriate care for children.
Treatment based on age
  • Dosages Of Medications: Children’s bodies are smaller than adults, so the medications needed to treat them may differ. It’s important to know the appropriate dosages of medications for children to treat them properly.
Dosages of medications
  • Techniques For CPR: Children may require a modification in CPR procedures from those used on adults. For example, the depth and rate of compressions may differ, and a child’s head may need to be positioned differently during CPR.
CPR on child
  • Treating Injuries: Children’s bones are more flexible than adults, so the treatment for fractures and dislocations may differ. It’s important to know how to properly splint and immobilise children’s injuries to prevent further damage.
Treating kids injuries
  • Handling Emergencies: It is crucial to recognise the indicators of a major disease or injury in children since children might not always be capable of expressing the gravity of their condition or the symptoms they are experiencing. Children may also be more susceptible to panic or fear during an emergency, so it’s important to be able to reassure and calm them.
Handling emergencies

What Should A Paediatric First Aid Box Include?

Individuals who complete training in paediatric first aid are equipped with the information and abilities necessary to respond to crises involving children safely and effectively.

A paediatric first aid kit or box should include a variety of supplies and equipment to help you respond to common emergencies involving children. Some essential items to include in a paediatric first aid box are:

Paediatric First Aid Box
  • Adhesive bandages in various sizes: Adhesive bandages are strips of material with a sticky backing. It is used to cover and protect wounds. They come in various sizes to suit different types of wounds, so it’s important to include a range of sizes in your paediatric first aid box.
  • Antiseptic wipes: Antiseptic wipes are pre-moistened, disposable wipes that contain the antiseptic solution. They can be used to clean and disinfect wounds to help prevent infection.
  • Sterile gauze pads: Sterile gauze pads are squares of sterile, absorbent material. It is used to cover wounds and absorb blood and other fluids. They are an essential item to include in a paediatric first aid box because they can help to prevent infection and keep the wound clean.
  • Scissors: Scissors are versatile tools that can cut bandages, clothing, or other materials in emergencies. They are essential items to include in a paediatric first aid box.
  • Tweezers: Tweezers are small, pointed tools that can remove splinters, ticks, or other small objects from wounds. They are essential items to include in a paediatric first aid box.
  • Adhesive tape: Adhesive tape is a strong, sticky tape that can hold bandages in place or secure dressings over wounds. It is an essential item to include in a paediatric first aid box.
  • Instant cold packs: Instant cold packs are pre-made packs to provide instant cold therapy for injuries, such as sprains or bruises. They are essential items to include in a paediatric first aid box.
  • Disposable gloves: Disposable gloves are single-use gloves to protect your hands when administering first aid. They are an essential item to include in a paediatric first aid box because they can help to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Emergency blanket: An emergency blanket is a lightweight, foil-lined blanket that can keep a child warm in emergencies. It is an essential item to include in a paediatric first aid box.
  • CPR mask: A CPR mask, also known as a pocket mask, is a small device that can administer CPR to a child. Including a paediatric first aid box is essential if you have been trained in CPR.
  • Epinephrine auto-injector: An epinephrine auto-injector is a device that can administer epinephrine quickly to a child in case of a severe allergic reaction. If a child has been prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector, it is essential to include it in your paediatric first aid box.

You should also include any medications the child may need, such as an inhaler for asthma or an epinephrine auto-injector for allergies.

It’s also a good idea to include a first aid manual or other reference materials to help you properly administer first aid in various situations.

It’s important to regularly check the contents of your paediatric first aid box and restock any items that have been used or have expired. This will help ensure that you have the supplies and equipment to respond to emergencies involving children.

What To Do When A Child Is Not Breathing And Is Unresponsive?

A medical emergency exists if a child is not breathing and is unresponsive. Immediately dial 000 and proceed as follows:

  • Check for signs of life: Gently shake the child and speak to them loudly. Look for signs of life, such as movement, breathing, or a pulse.
  • CPR should be initiated if the youngster is not breathing: If the youngster stops breathing or has no pulse, CPR must be started immediately. Place the youngster on their back on a flat, hard surface, and get down on one knee next to them. 

One hand should be placed on top of the other, with the heel resting on the child’s chest. Use your body weight to squeeze the chest at least two inches, about a third of its depth. Start by performing 30 chest compression at a frequency of a minimum of 100 each minute.

  • Use an AED if available: If an automated external defibrillator (AED) is available, use it as soon as possible. To use an AED on a child, follow the on-screen instructions to apply the pads to the kid’s chest. If the AED advises a shock, press the button to deliver the shock.
  • Continue CPR: After delivering a shock with the AED, if the child is still not breathing and does not have a pulse, continue CPR. 

Give two rescue breaths by covering the child’s mouth and nose with your mouth and blowing in gently until you see the chest rise. Then, administer 30 additional chest compressions at a frequency of not less than 100 per minute.

  • Repeat until help arrives: Continue performing CPR and using the AED until emergency medical help arrives. If the child starts to breathe or show signs of life, monitor their breathing and pulse and keep them warm until help arrives.
CPR on a child

It is important to remember that the steps for CPR on a child may differ from those for an adult. Call 000 and follow the operator’s instructions if you are not trained in CPR. If you have CPR training, you should call 000 immediately and begin CPR. Every minute counts in these situations, so it is important to act quickly and decisively.

What Precautions Should Be Taken Before Performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation On A Child?

Doctor’s ABCD (DRS ABCD) is a helpful acronym for remembering the order of actions.

Follow these steps before beginning CPR on a child older than one year:

  • D- Danger: First and foremost, ensure the child and anybody else nearby are safe. Don’t endanger yourself or anyone else. Get rid of either the threat or the patient.

  • R- Response: If the child is not paying attention, try and call their name or gently touch their shoulder.

  • S- Send for help: If you get no response after dialling 000, someone else should make the call.

  • A- Airway: You should ensure their throat and mouth are clean. Tilt their head back and elevate their chin to clear any debris from their airways, such as food, blood, loose teeth, or vomit.

  • B- Breathing: Examine whether the child is breathing irregularly or not after 10 seconds. If they are breathing regularly, you should put them in the recovery position and remain with them while they are doing so.

  • C – CPR: Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation if the child is not breathing regularly. The primary focus of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is on performing chest compressions. The sooner you start chest compressions after phoning for aid, the better.

  • D- Defibrillation: If an AED is accessible and another person can deliver it, it should be attached to the child as soon as possible. Do not get one if doing so would require you to abandon the child.

When To Stop CPR?

In the following cases, it is no longer appropriate to continue CPR:

  • The child begins to breathe on their own and no longer needs assistance.
  • Emergency medical personnel arrive and take over.
  • The child has a pulse but is not breathing. In this case, you should perform rescue breathing instead of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • The child shows no signs of life after an extended period, such as more than 10 minutes of CPR.
  • The person performing CPR is too exhausted to continue.

It’s crucial to remember that these are the only times when CPR should be halted. If in doubt, continue CPR until medical personnel arrive. Do not stop CPR unless you are certain it is safe.

Paediatric First Aid For Head Injuries

Paediatric first aid for head injuries may include the following steps:

  • Check the child’s airway, breathing, and circulation to maintain stability. If they are not breathing, begin CPR. If they are breathing but unconscious, carefully position them on their side to prevent choking.
  • Apply gentle pressure to any wounds to control bleeding. Do not apply a tourniquet or try to clean the wound.
  • If the child is conscious, do not let them move around or walk. Keep them still and comfortable.
  • If the child is unconscious, do not try to move them unless they are in danger, such as near a fire or other hazardous situation. If repositioning is necessary, do it with extreme caution, and ensure enough support for the patient’s head and neck at all times.
  • Dial 000 for medical assistance.
  • Monitor the child’s vital signs, including their breathing and level of consciousness, until emergency medical personnel arrive.
  • Provide first aid for any other injuries the child may have, such as broken bones or bruises.

It is important to remember that head injuries can be serious and may require immediate medical attention. If you’re unfamiliar with first aid, dial 000 and wait for the operator’s instructions.

Head injuries on kids

Where To Find A Paediatric First Aid Course

Paediatric first aid courses for parents are designed to teach parents and caregivers the basic skills and knowledge they need to provide first aid to children in the event of an emergency. 

These courses typically cover various topics, including assessing a child’s condition, performing CPR and how to use an AED, controlling bleeding, and caring for common injuries and illnesses. Some paediatric first aid courses may also cover choking, poisoning, and burns.

The Paediatric first aid training courses may be offered in various formats such as:

  • In-person classes
  • Online paediatric first aid courses, and 
  • Blended learning programs that combine online learning with in-person skills practice and assessment.

Parents and caregivers need basic paediatric first aid skills, as children are more vulnerable to injury and illness and may require different care than adults. 

Having the knowledge and skills to provide first aid helps parents and caregivers feel more confident and prepared to handle emergencies and potentially save lives. Contact a licensed first aid provider if you’re considering signing up for “paediatric first aid courses for parents.”

Paediatric First Aid Certificate

A paediatric first aid certificate can be beneficial for individuals who work with children, such as teachers, childcare providers, and coaches, as well as for parents and caregivers who want to be prepared to handle emergencies involving children. 

It is important to note that a paediatric first aid certificate does not replace the need for professional medical care and should not be used as a substitute for seeking appropriate medical attention.

It’s worth noting that the specifics of paediatric first aid training courses may differ based on where you live. It is a good idea to research the specific course offerings and requirements of any organisation you are considering taking a course with to ensure it meets your needs.

To find local first aid courses for children, you may do an online search on any number of different websites. You can search for “paediatric first aid course near me” or “paediatric first aid training near me” to find courses in your area.