First Aid for Infants and Children

Allowing young children the autonomy to explore the world on their own is an essential for healthy development. Many parents experience increased anxieties with this, however, fearing that their children may place themselves in dangerous situations. Thus, parents should take prudent steps for preparation in this process to ensure a safe and worry-free journey for everyone. One of these steps most definitely involves acquiring and maintaining a first-aid kit for babies and children.

The Contents of a First-Aid Kit

First-aid kits may be purchased or put together independently. A purchased first-aid kit may lack certain items, however, and can always be added to. It is important to realize the kits of no two families will probably be identical. A kit may be personalized for the needs of any one family. If the family is physically active, more bandages may be needed. If there are infants in the home, special products for babies, such as diaper rash ointment, should be included. Please refer to the following list for some ideas, but always seek your doctor's advice first:

*Tape, gauze and scissors *Band-Aids *Thermometer *Multiple ointments (antiseptic, antifungal, anti-itch) *Acetaminophen and ibuprofen (children's) *Tweezers *Petroleum jelly *Prescription medications (inhalers, EpiPen, diabetes kit) *Compact emergency blankets *Drops (eyes and nose) *Hand sanitizer *Flashlight *Cotton balls *Splints *Sunscreen *Saline solution.

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Paper contents are also important in a first-aid kit. A first-aid manual can provide helpful tips in emergency situations. Instructions on how to perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver on various individuals (children, infants, adults, pets, yourself!) can be life saving but very dangerous if carried out incorrectly. Emergency numbers are also very important to have on hand, such as numbers for poison control, doctors, hospitals, fire and police, friends and neighbors and anyone else who can provide assistance in an emergency situation.

What to Do in Common Situations

Stings. Remove the stinger gently with use of an appropriate tool and apply a cool compress. Look for signs of an anaphylactic reaction and call 911 immediately if such signs, like swelling in the face or trouble breathing, are noticed.

Fever. If the child has a fever and displays changes in appearance or behavior, call the pediatrician's office. Watch out for stiff neck, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, temperature higher than 100.4 in infants, drowsiness and/or dizziness.

Fractures. If you cannot get fast professional care consider wrapping the limb in a soft cloth and, if necessary (and only if you know what you're doing) try to manufacture a splint to keep it in place. Apply a cool compress for up to 20 minutes. Cover any broken skin or visible bone with a bandage. Seek emergency care.

Wounds. Rinse and apply pressure. For superficial lacerations, application of an antibiotic ointment and bandage may be sufficient. For deeper wounds, please contact the pediatrician's office for further instructions. Ask about the child's tetanus status.

Burns. Smother any flames right away and remove clothing unless adhered to skin. Run cool water over the burned areas for pain relief. Call the pediatrician for advice on next steps or seek emergency care.

Please contact a physician for professional advice, as the above is not to be taken as so.

Special Consideration for Baby First-Aid

If the household includes infants, the first-aid kit should include some additional items made specifically for babies. Please consider adding:

*Rectal thermometer *Nasal aspirator *Baby lotion and oil *Diaper rash ointment *Rubbing alcohol (for a healing umbilicus) *Baby washcloths

Having access to a first-aid kit is essential for any parent or care provider of children. Different families may have different contents of their first-aid kit depending on their activities and household composition. First-aid kits should always include paper information for quick access to first-aid instructions and emergency numbers. As a final note, families may wish to create multiple kits to place in different locations depending on where most time is spent.



Please be aware that the articles on this site are written by mothers who are discussing their own experiences and their own opinions. They do not, and are not meant to, represent professional advice and should be read with that point firmly in mind. Our children’s welfare is paramount; if you are ever in the slightest doubt about any aspect of caring for a child you are urged to seek qualified, specialist advice from a professional advisor.

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