Boots guide to basic first aid

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Boots guide to basic first aid

Be ready to help manage cuts, bruises, burns, stings and even choking.

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Boots guide to basic first aid

Bumps, scrapes and scratches are all part of growing up. So if you know some simple techniques, you'll be prepared to treat minor injuries quickly and confidently.

Essential advice

Burns

If your child has suffered a burn, you need to act quickly and calmly. Cool the burned or scalded area by immediately running it under cool or lukewarm running water, for at least 15 minutes. Any tight clothing or jewellery near the burnt area should be removed to avoid restriction of burnt skin. Leave anything that has already become stuck to skin and avoid placing any ice, fats, ointments or creams to the burn. Don't use plasters or adhesive (sticky) dressings.

Minor burns do not require a trip to the hospital. However, there are some circumstances where you should take your child to hospital and they include if they are under five, have a chemical or electrical burn or if the burn is bigger than your child's hand. If you are in doubt quickly seek advice from a healthcare professional.

Cuts

Minor cuts will happen as little ones explore and bump into things. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly and clean the wound under cool running tap water, but do not use antiseptic as it may damage the tissue and slow down healing. Pat the area dry with a clean towel and apply pressure to the wound until it stops bleeding, then apply a sterile adhesive dressing such as a plaster.

Keep the cut clean by changing the dressing as often as necessary. If the cut is deep, doesn't stop bleeding or looks infected then seek immediate medical advice from a healthcare professional.

Bruises

Treat a bruise by applying a cold compress, wet flannel or even a bag of frozen peas to it. If you're using something cold from the freezer, wrap it in a towel so there's no direct contact with the skin. Hold it over the area for at least 10 minutes. Most bruises will disappear after two weeks.

Stings

Bees are the only insects that leave their stinger in the skin. Scrape the area with a fingernail or credit card to remove it. Don't attempt to pinch the stinger with your fingers or tweezers, as this could spread more venom further under the skin. Then, as with wasp and hornet stings, wash the affected area with soap and water, before placing a cold flannel on the sting to ease pain and reduce swelling.

Discourage your little one from scratching it, as this increases the chance of infection. If there is lots of excess swelling or blistering or if the there's pus, your child should be taken to your GP. If your child has breathing difficulties or feels sick or dizzy after being bitten or stung you should dial 999 immediately.

Choking: under one year old

If your child is under one and is choking, try to remove the object from their mouth but only if you can see it. If your child is coughing, allow them to try and cough it out. If their cough is weak or they can't cough, but are still conscious, position them face-down on your lap with their head lower than their body. While supporting the head, jaw and neck, give five back blows using the heel of your hand between their shoulders.

If this doesn't work and your child is still conscious, position your child on his or her back across your thigh, while supporting their head and neck, and give five chest thrusts, placing two fingers over the middle of the breastbone. Repeat the back blows followed by chest thrusts until the object pops out and your child is breathing again.

Call 999: If your child does not respond or becomes unconscious at any stage call an ambulance immediately. The emergency operator will guide you through CPR.

Choking: over one year old

If your child is over one and is choking, try to remove the object from their mouth but only if you can see it. If your child is coughing, allow them to try and cough it out. If they are struggling to breathe, talk or cough, stand behind him or her, support them in a forward-leaning position with their head positioned downwards (small children can be positioned across your lap as you would a baby) and give up to five back blows to the back between the shoulder blades.

If this fails to move the object, stand or kneel behind the child and use abdominal thrusts; place the flat thumb side of your fist between the child's navel and breastbone, keeping well off the breastbone itself. Position your other hand around your fist and pull sharply inwards and upwards towards the stomach up to five times. Repeat the back blows followed by abdominal thrusts until the object pops out and the child can breathe again.

Call 999: If your child does not respond or becomes unconscious at any stage call an ambulance immediately. The emergency operator will guide you through CPR.

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