First Aid


  • Squeeze edges of the wound together if possible.
  • Apply pressure directly to the wound, using a clean pad or bare fingers, unless an object is embedded in the wound.
  • Don’t try to remove a deeply embedded object.  Apply firm pressure above and below the wound.  Place thick pads around the object before bandaging.
  • Raise a cut arm or leg above body level to slow blood flow.
  • Don’t disturb blood clots, they are nature’s way of stopping bleeding.
  • Don’t move your child more than necessary, if a bone may be broken.
  • Use a sterile dressing, clean folded cloth or pad of tissues to cover the wound.
  • Bandage firmly, but not so tightly as to interfere with circulation.


Children are often burned by hot liquids and appliances in the home and sunburn, but scalding burns are the most common burn occurring in young children.  These burns usually occur when a baby or a toddler knocks over a cup of tea or coffee or reaches the handle of a pot on the stove and pulls it over on themselves.

  • Remove the child immediately from the source of the burn and cool the burnt area straight away under slowly running cold water for at least 10 minutes.
  • If there is no running water available use a pool or bucket of cold water and hold the burn in it until the redness fades or for at least 10 minutes.
  • If the skin surface is broken, wrap the burned area in plastic kitchen wrap or loosely in a wet clean cotton cloth (e.g. tea towel). All children with burns or scalds should see a doctor.

Electric Shock

  • Switch off the current before touching your child, to avoid getting shocked.
  • If that is not possible, use a wooden chair or broom to push the child away from the cause of the shock.
  • Check that he is breathing and if you can feel his pulse.
  • If he is unconscious but is breathing and has a pulse, turn him on his side in the recovery position.
  • If he has no pulse and is not breathing, start CPR.
  • Dial 111 for an ambulance.
  • Check for burns without disturbing recovery position. Cover burns with cold, wet cloth pads.


Most poisonings are preventable and you should make every effort to poision proof your home.  If you suspect your child has swallowed or eaten something poisonous, remove it from them immediately and do the following:

  • Don’t give your child anything to drink.
  • Don’t try to make your child vomit.

Immediately call the Poisons Information Centre on 0800 POISON (0800 764 766) or your doctor.

If you can quickly find the poison container, or plant, take it with you to the phone. The Poisons Information Centre or your doctor need to know what has been swallowed and how much. They will give you information as to the first aid treatment and tell you whether you should take your child to the doctor or hospital.

  • If you do not have a phone or you can’t get a reply to your phone call, take your child and the bottle, container or plant straight to your doctor, nearest medical centre, hospital emergency department, or phone 111.
  • If you know your child has taken a corrosive substance (one which burns the inside of the mouth or throat such as automatic dishwasher detergent, battery fluid, bleach or rat poison) immediately give a small amount of fluid – quarter of a glass.

CPR (rescue breathing and chest compressions)

All caregivers should know how to perform CPR read more.