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How to deal with childhood emergencies: some general rules

Stay calm and smile:

Your child will sense if you panic but will be reassured if you show you are in control and are there to help them

Check your surroundings are safe:

Don’t put you or the child at risk

Reassure the child and keep them warm:

A cuddle and a kiss can work wonders too!

Try to avoid children seeing blood:

The sooner a child’s got a plaster on, the better they’ll feel

Prevent infection:

If possible wash your hands before applying dressings or wear disposable gloves.

Be prepared:

Ensure you have a well-stocked first-aid kit and replace anything you use as soon as possible.

Recommended contents for a first-aid kit:

  • 10 adhesive plasters in assorted size
  • Sterile dressings in assorted sizes
  • 1 large sterile eye patch
  • Gauze roller bandages
  • Adhesive allergenic tape
  • 6 safety pins
  • Disposable gloves
  • 2 small plastic bags for disposal of used dressings
  • Saline solution for washing wounds
  • 6 safety pins
  • Antiseptic wipes for cleaning wounds
  • 2 Round nosed scissors

Remember Dr ABC:

Danger – assess if either the child or you are in danger

Response – ascertain if the child is responsive

Airway – check to ensure airway is open

Breathing – once the airway is open ensure they are breathing

Circulation – check there are no major injuries that could cause blood loss

If you’re in doubt ask for medical help. In these incidences you must visit A&E or call an ambulance:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Breathing problems
  • A deep wound or one with something embedded in it
  • A cut which oozes pus
  • A severe burn
  • A suspected fracture or broken bone
  • A severe allergic reaction
  • A snake or animal bite
  • Poisoning
  • Severe shock
  • A nosebleed or bruise following a head injury
  • Any condition which turns rapidly worse


  • Stay with the child and get someone to call for help
  • Stay calm
  • Tell medical professionals everything you can


  • Don’t move the child if there’s any chance they’ve hurt their back or neck
  • Do not give them anything to eat or drink in case they need surgery