Baby First Aid Essentials
We chat to paramedic and paediatric first aid coach Jess Peters from Rescueblue, to find out the medical essentials for families, and why we all need to find time for a first aid workshop.
What are your must-have items in a family first aid kit?
We always recommend that parents have a first aid kit in their house and another one in their car so that they are prepared for accidents when out and about. It’s important to make sure that you have paediatric first aid kits that are stocked with the appropriate sized bandages for your child, as adult bandages generally won’t fit on a child.
It’s always helpful to ensure that you have child paracetamol and Nurofen, and an antihistamine for bites and stings if they are over six months of age.
When you should see a doctor
Any child under the age of six months of age with a fever should be seen by a doctor straight away — at the GP or the emergency department. This is because babies in this age group have a very fragile immune system, so they’re at a much higher risk of getting a more significant infection. They also have a much higher risk of getting dehydrated.
Young babies breath through their nose when they are breastfeeding, so a blocked nose restricts their breathing and they are less likely to finish their feeds.
For those over six months, we teach the ABCD acronym in our paediatric first aid workshops. If you spot any of these signs, you should take your child to a doctor immediately:
Activity: If you notice a decrease in activity, if they aren’t their usual self.
Breathing: Are they breathing more rapidly, or working hard to breathe?
Colour: Do they look pale, or starting to have bluish tinges around lips or fingers?
Dehydration: A decrease of feeds and or wet nappies of more than 50% over 24-hour period.
I also really encourage parents to follow their instincts. Even if there’s nothing obvious with the child, if your instinct is telling them that something is not right, then take them to get seen by a doctor.
Jess’s No 1 tip for parents in baby first aid
One thing, particularly for new parents, is being really mindful about having hot drinks around your baby. As paramedics we see fairly catastrophic burns, when exhausted mums are feeding their baby whilst also having a coffee or tea. As baby gets a little bigger, they can very easily pull back a cup of coffee over themselves. Few people realise that hot coffee can cause a full thickness burn instantly in a new baby.
What are the essentials of a paediatric first aid workshop?
Paediatric first aid gets put on the side burner for new parents, which is understandable. Most people assume that bad things wont happen to them, but unfortunately, as paramedics, we see that bad things can happen to anyone. Therefore, we want to give people the skills to act in these emergency situations.
If you are a parent who knows how to perform CPR prior to our arrival, that child is going to have a much more significant chance of resuscitation. Children that have burns treated correctly have a lesser chance of having ongoing and significant issues with the burns.
By participating in a Rescueblue Little Aid workshop, parents will learn the skills necessary to act in an emergency situation. We hope that parents are never in a situation where they will need to use these skills, but if they do, we know that they are equipped to deal with any emergency situation.
Rescueblue holds regular paediatric first aid workshops across Southeast Queensland.
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Written by Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music.