First aid tips for adults, children & travel

Swot up on some basic first aid & create a custom first aid kit

Accidents happen from time to time, so it’s best to be prepared with some first aid knowledge and an essential go-to medical kit – check out our top tips to get you started.

How to treat a burn

For burns it’s important to give first aid as soon as possible. Start by cooling the burned area, under running water for at least 20 minutes if possible. It’s important to do this with cool running water, rather than iced water or ice. Never use creams or things like butter on a burn.

Next, carefully remove any items surrounding the burn, such as clothing or jewellery, or baby’s nappy. Never remove anything stuck directly to the burn, as this could cause more damage.

Cover the burn – the best way to do this is with cling film, as it won’t stick to the skin. Be careful not to wrap it too tightly around the affected area, as it’ll need space to swell.

Offer paracetamol or ibuprofen for any pain if suitable (if you’re giving first aid to a younger child with a burn, make sure pain relief is right for their age).

Keep an eye on the situation and seek medical help if you’re worried. For more serious burns always call 999.

How to apply a dressing

Minor cuts and grazes can be easily treated at home. To help avoid infection, always cover a wound with a dressing. Get to know the different dressings in your first aid kit and how to apply them. Some dressings come with adhesive strips and some may need to be tied, so it’s best to have a good idea ready for when you might need them.

Wash and dry your hands before applying a dressing, and wear surgical gloves if you have them.

Apply pressure to stop the bleeding, then clean and dry the wound. Raise the affected area if possible.

Choose a dressing that’s slightly bigger than the wound and apply it directly on top, holding the dressing by the edges.

For adhesive dressings such as plasters, you simply need to peel back the protective strips and place the pad on the wound. Then completely remove the protective strips and press the edges of the plaster firmly in place.

To apply a sterile dressing pad that’s attached to a bandage, hold the bandage on either side of the pad and lay the pad on top of the wound. Wrap the short end of the bandage around the injured area, then wrap the long end of the bandage the opposite way. Tie both ends together over the pad to put slight pressure on the wound.

If the wound is severe, seek emergency medical help as soon as possible.

Putting together a first aid kit

Whether you’re setting out on an adventure or putting together a first aid kit especially for the kids, there’s plenty to consider when it comes to first aid supplies. You need to make sure the essentials in your kit are right for the people using them.

For example, adults might not want a waterproof plaster decorated with cartoon designs, and you might find your pain relief is unsuitable for some members of the family, such as children.

First aid kit top tip: It’s important to keep your kit well stocked, but you should also feel confident using everything in it. If your child is old enough, teach them the basics of administering first aid too. If you want to brush up on your first aid skills, have a look for some courses near you.

First aid for children

Children love exploring the world, and sometimes this can lead to a few bumps and bruises along the way. It’s a good idea to put together a children’s health first aid kit, just in case.

Start with a ready-made kit that has all the essentials, like the Boots Children's First Aid Kit, then customise it with a few extras to suit your family.

Got a little one who likes to get out and about climbing trees and riding their bike? You might want to add a few more ice packs, sterile wipes and bandages for any bumps or scrapes. 

A spare thermometer could be useful in case your go-to one gets dropped or breaks. Nervous children might even appreciate a special soft toy in the first aid kit, so they have something to comfort them when they’re hurt.