Child Safety - First Aid

The information here is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.

First Aid Kit:
  • Have a well stocked first aid box in your home.
  • Make sure it is out of reach and sight of children.
  • Do not store medication in your first aid kit - all medication should be stored in its original packaging and in a locked cupboard.
  • Your kit should contain:
    • Scissors
    • Tweezers – for removal of thorns & splinters.  Never use a tweezers to remove objects from nose, mouth or ears – seek medical attention.
    • Thermometer
    • Disposable gloves
    • Plasters - various sizes
    • Safety pins
    • Bandages – a selection of sizes
    • Sling
    • Tape
    • Absorbent Pads
    • Antiseptic or antiseptic wipes
    • A list of emergency phone numbers
  • For instances where you cannot get access to clean water it may be useful to include the following items in your first aid kit:
    • Sterile water, in sealed disposable containers, for wound cleaning.
    • Burn gels/hydrogels – there is often confusion as to whether these should be used.  Current evidence shows that treatment for 20 minutes under cool running water is the best first aid treatment for burns and scalds (see below).  Hydrogels may provide analgesia (pain relief) until cool, running water can be applied to the injury.
    • Hand sanitiser
  • Remember to wash your hands thoroughly before and after you give first aid. If you do not have access to running water, hand sanitiser is a good option.
  • If you have a first aid kit in your car, or you use one for camping or hiking, make sure it is stored where your children cannot get at it.  
Training:

Consider doing a first aid course. For more information contact:First Aid Skills

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR);  mouth-to-mouth breathing and chest compressions:

CPR training will include steps for what to do if an adult of child stops breathing, is choking or whose heart has stopped pumping effectively.

CPR courses are provided and certified by the Irish Heart Foundation (Heartsaver CPR)  and the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) – Cardiac First Response programme.  These organisations certify various training bodies to provide quality training in CPR for infants, children and adults.

Further information is available from:


More information:

The Irish Red Cross has produced an app which features easy to follow tips for more than 20 common first aid scenarios including how to treat burns, breaks, strains and sprains and what to do if an infant is choking.  It also features advice on how to prepare for emergency situations including floods, fires and water safety.  Find out more at www.redcross.ie.


In an emergency the "blue light" services - Garda Síochána, ambulance, fire and Irish Coast Guard - can be contacted by dialling 112 or 999 (www.112.ie).

Emergency - 112 or 999Do you know your Eircode?  The National Emergency Operations Centre within the National Ambulance Service uses Eircodes to send out ambulances.  Make a note of your Eircode and put it somewhere visible in case it is needed in an emergency situation.  Information about Eircodes can be found at www.eircode.ie.

Can you give good directions to your home?  Make a list of easy to follow directions to your location and put them in a visible place.  Remember, in an emergency it can be difficult to think clearly - so take the thinking out of it by preparing your directions in advance.  Remember - time is precious in an emergency situation.


When to call an ambulance:

You should always call 112 or 999 in a life-threatening emergency, if someone is seriously ill or injured, and their life is at risk. Examples of medical emergencies include (but are not limited to):

  • chest pain
  • difficulty in breathing
  • unconsciousnessTake to hospital
  • severe loss of blood
  • severe burns or scalds
  • choking 
  • fitting or concussion
  • drowning
  • severe allergic reactions

NOTE:  If you require the ambulance service in an emergency, call 999 or 112 as this will allow the Emergency Call Taker within the National Emergency Operations Centre to guide you and explain to you what you should do using step-by-step approach until the ambulance arrives to you.

If it is not a life-threatening emergency and you, or the person you are with, do not need immediate medical attention, consider other options before you dial 999 or 112:

  • Look after yourself or the patient at home. If you cannot stay at home, see if family or friends are able to help.
  • Talk to your local pharmacist.
  • Visit or call your GP.
  • Make your own way to your hospital emergency department

Choose the best treatment for your needs . It allows the ambulance service to help the people who need them the most.

Click here to find out more about the ambulance service.


 Basic First Aid - if in doubt at any stage, seek medical assistance

Please note that First Aid is just that - the first care that an injured person receives. First Aid is not intended to replace medical care.

The information here is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment or formal First Aid and/or life support training.

 Cuts and Bleeding
Clean it

 

Clean the cut - use cold running water.

Avoid cutting dangers
Stop the bleeding - apply light pressure with a clean cloth or pad until bleeding stops.
 Cover it
Cover the cut.
 Take to hospital
Take the child to your GP or hospital if in doubt.  If bleeding heavily, call an ambulance.
 Burns and Scalds

 

 

Cool it

  • Burns/scalds above the neck could affect breathing or vision.  If the burn or scald is above the neck, call for an ambulance and apply recommended first aid while waiting for the ambulance to attend.  
  • If other areas are affected, still plan to seek medical attention for your child, but it is safe and a good idea to take a few minutes to apply basic first aid at home:
    • Cool the burned or scalded area immediately - run cool water over it for 20 minutes. This is so important - it will help with pain and can reduce the risk of scarring and need for surgery.  Never use ice.
    • If you cannot apply cool, running water to the injury immediately, do so as soon as is possible – it will still help up to 3 hours after the injury happened.  
    • Burn gels/hydrogels - there is often confusion as to whether these should be used.  Current evidence shows that treatment for 20 minutes under cool running water is the best first aid treatment for burns and scalds.  Burn gels/hydrogels may provide analgesia (pain relief) until cool, running water can be applied to the injury. 
    • Only treat the burn with cool water – keep the rest of the patient warm, if possible.
    • If possible, remove clothes, nappies or jewellery as burnt skin can swell. But do not remove anything which has become stuck to the skin.
    • If a piece of clothing is stuck to skin do not remove it, cut around it.
    • Do not place any ice, fats, ointments or creams on the burn.  Greasy substances will just keep the heat in and cause further damage.
    • Do not place adhesive (sticky) dressings or plasters on the burn.
    • Do not pop any blisters at home - blisters are the body's way of preventing skin infection.
Cover it
  • If the injury is likely to rub against objects, you may wish to cover the wound - use a clean non-fluffy cloth or clean cling-film.
  • A clean plastic bag may also be used if the burn is on the hand.  Do not wrap anything tightly around the wound.
Take to hospital

2euroGet professional medical attention if:

  • an infant or small child has been burned/scalded or
  • the burnt area is larger than a €2 coin or
  • the burn is on the face, hands or genitalia or
  • the injured person appears unwell or distressed

Attention should also be sought for any burns which appear white or chalky, with decreased pain sensation (deep burns) or if there is evidence of an inhalation injury (e.g. soot or smoke residue around nose or mouth).

Remember, in an emergency, don't delay, dial 999 or 112 (emergency services).

If you think your child has been poisoned:

 Keep container

Stay calm but act quickly.

Take the poison away from your child.

If the poison was eaten, make the child spit it out and run your fingers around the mouth and flick out any remaining pieces.

Keep the container - the doctor will need to see it.

Do not eat or drink

Do not give your child anything to eat or drink unless directed to do so by healthcare staff.

Never make your child vomit. 

Clean it

If chemical has been splashed into the eye, wash it with tap water for 15 minutes.

Use soap and water to wash any skin that was in contact with poison. 

Contact Us

Do not delay!  Ring the Poisons Information Centre at (01) 809 2166 8 a.m.-10 p.m. every day.

Your call will be answered by a Specialist in Poisons Information who will tell you if medical attention is needed.

Outside these hours, contact your GP or hospital.

Choking - First Aid advice for parents

Find out how to save a choking baby - watch the The Chokeables from St John Ambulance - pen lid, marble, princess and jelly baby have had enough of being a hazard and they are here to show you the correct technique to save a choking baby. 
Have a look at some other videos from St John Ambulance - Baby Choking First Aid for Parents and Choking Adults and Children - First Aid advice

If your infant (under 1 year old) is choking:

Turn the infant face down with their head lower than their body.Choking Infant 1

Support their head, jaw and neck.

Give 5 back blows using the heel of your hand between the infant's shoulders.

 

Choking InfantTurn the infant onto its back while still supporting their head & neck.

Give 5 chest thrusts by placing two fingers over the lower half of the infant's breastbone, below an imaginary line between the nipples.

Keep doing 5 back blows and 5 chest thrusts until the object pops out and the infant begins to breathe again.

If the infant becomes unresponsive, call for help and send someone to dial 999 or 112.

Stay on the phone and listen carefully for advice:

  • You must begin CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) - the Ambulance Call Taker will guide you.

  • If during CPR you see the object, remove it with your fingers but do not place your fingers in the infant's mouth if you cannot see the object.

Ref: American Heart Association 2010

If your child (over 1 year old) is choking:

Ask the child - Are you choking? Can you breath?

If the child cannot breathe, talk or cough, stand behind the child.

Give up to 5 slaps to the back between the shoulder blades.

If this does not dislodge the object, stand or kneel behind the child.Choking Child

Start the Heimlich manoeuvre by placing the flat thumb side of your fist between the child's navel and breastbone.

Be sure to keep well off the breastbone.

Wrap your other hand around your fist and press upwards towards their stomach.

Keep doing this until the object pops out and the child begins to breathe again.

If the child becomes unresponsive, gently lower the child to the floor.

Call for help and send someone to dial 999 or 112.

Stay on the phone and listen carefully for advice:

  • You must begin CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) - the Ambulance Call Taker will guide you.
  • If during CPR you see the object, remove it with your fingers but do not place your fingers in the child's mouth if you cannot see the object.

Ref: PHECC 2012

Most unintentional injuries (often called accidents) can be prevented:

Remember the key message where child safety is concerned -
Watch your child at all times, as children do not understand danger

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