The baby first aid essentials every parent needs to know

Basic first aid for your baby or toddler is easier to learn than you think – and knowing what to do could save a life

From a grazed knee to a bead up the nose, your ultra-inquisitive tot will have their fair share of medical mishaps. “Many parents are scared they’ll interfere and make things worse, but basic baby first aid is actually very simple, and prompt action really can make the difference,” says Alan Weir, head of clinical operations for St John Ambulance.

We know it’s scary, but knowledge is power. And, while a baby first aid course for parents is always a great idea, our crib sheet should help you deal with some of the most common accidents, to help you feel prepared and ready to leap into action, should the need arise.

My child is choking… what do I do?

Children put things in their mouths. Fact. It’s one of the ways they explore. Keep objects like beads, buttons and batteries well out of reach and cut food up into small pieces (especially things like grapes, which can plug a child’s airway).

“If your child suddenly has difficulty breathing, develops a red puffy face and shows signs of distress, it’s likely they’re choking,” says Alan. “Keep calm but act immediately.”

If your child is old enough, encourage them to cough, as this could dislodge the obstruction.

Lean your child forwards, supporting their body with one hand (or if they’re under one, lay them face down over your knee, supporting their head). With the other hand, give them five sharp back blows. Check their mouth after each blow.

If this fails, either stand or kneel behind your child. Wrap your arms around them. Put your hands together into a fist and pull sharply into their abdomen up to five times to squeeze the obstruction free. If your child is under one, you’ll need to lay them face up on your knees along the length of your thighs, place two fingers in the middle of their breastbone and give five sharp chest thrusts, compressing the chest by about a third.

If the blockage still hasn’t cleared, lay them down on a firm flat surface and call 999 immediately. Repeat the age-appropriate blows or squeezes until help arrives. If they become unresponsive, it’s time to start CPR. Don’t leave them at any point.

My child has burned herself – do I take her to hospital?

“First, cool the area under cool or lukewarm running water for 20 minutes,” says Alan. “Remove any clothing around the burn, unless it’s actually stuck (in which case leave it there), and then cover the area loosely with cling film. This keeps the burn clean and reduces pain, as air flow on