learn first aid basics

First aid basics


Here are some basic first aid skills that you should know:

Puncture wound or cuts and scrapes

If a person has a small puncture, cut, or scrape  it may or may not bleed.  Here are some steps to take care of it:

  1. Wash your hands, to prevent spreading infection
  2. Apply pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding
  3. Clean the wound with clear water. Remove any debris with tweezers.  Make sure to clean the tweezers in alcohol first.  If debris still remains, see a doctor. Carefully clean the area around with a washcloth and warm water.
  4. Apply an antibiotic. Applying a thin layer of cream can help stop spread of infection.
  5. Cover the wound with a bandage.
  6. Change the dressing as it becomes wet or dirty.
  7. Watch for signs of infection. If it doesn’t heal, has more pain, is red or has any discharge, see a doctor.
  8. If the bleeding does not stop or appears to be very deep, it may need stitches. See a doctor.


These can be serious or in most cases not so bad.  If you have a small burn just on the surface of the skin from touching a hot object, immediately place the area under cool running water.  Keep the area covered in water until it feel better about 10-15 minutes.

If the area blisters, don’t break them.  Cover them with antibiotic cream and a bandage.

If you develop large blisters, see your doctor.  If you notice signs of infection such as oozing from the wound or increased pain, redness or swelling see your doctor.

For severe burns, call 911 immediately.

Bug bites or stings

Most reactions to bites are mild, causing only discomfort to a person.  But in some cases it can cause an allergic reaction.  For most, wash the area with soap and water.  If there is a stinger, remove that.  Apply a cold pack to reduce pain and swelling.  Use a pain reliever if necessary.  Apply a topical cream such as hydrocortisone to ease the pain and itch relief.  Take an antihistamine such as Benadryl if you are experiencing an allergic reaction to the bite.

For a severe reaction such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips or throat, faintness, dizziness, confusion, rapid heartbeat, nausea, cramps, or vomiting contact a doctor or 911 immediately.

Heat exhaustion

This is sometimes common with little children who have been outdoors playing in the hot sun.  They may begin to start feeling faint or dizzy.  They might have a headache, feel fatigued, or have many other abnormal symptoms.  The best thing to do is if you notice they are acting differently, get them indoors out of the sun.  Try and get them in an air conditioned room.  Remove any tight clothing and elevate the legs and feet slightly.  Give them cool drinks to sip on while you sponge their bodies gently with a cool wet cloth.  If they don’t seem to be getting better, call 911 or your doctor immediately.  This can lead to heat stroke.


At the other extreme, if you are outdoors in the winter time you can be exposed to frostbite in extreme temperatures.  It is very important to have all of your skin unexposed while venturing out in to the blistery weather.  Even if the weather is fair and you are having little ones outdoors to play, it is important that if their hands get wet with snow, you bring them indoors and change their gloves immediately.  I like to keep my gloves off and in my pockets and I know that if I am freezing than my little ones are probably cold as well. They won’t as likely tell you that they are cold, so it will be your job to only let them play for increments  of time outdoors in the winter.  When you bring them back indoors, do not put their hands in warm water.  It will only cause them to burn.  Gently massage them together to warm them up.

Falls or head trauma

These are all sensitive issues and as with everything use caution.  If my child is to fall down, I usually let them try and get themselves up.  If they are able to stand up even partially, then I know that the fall is not that severe.  Do not pick up a child who has fallen and lays there. You don’t want to do more damage to them in case something is broken.  Carefully try and calm the child down and see if you can find out where the pain is coming from.  If crying continues for an extended period of time, ½ hour to 1 hour, I would suggest calling 911 or visiting your nearest ER.  If the child can be comforted within a matter of moments, they will probably be alright.  Don’t immediately give a child pain relieving medicine, especially after a head trauma.  Give their bodies some time to figure out what is going on and if you don’t need to visit the ER, you can administer a dose to make them more comfortable.


If a child is hit in an area it may bruise, swell, or sprain depending upon what they did to it.  The best thing to do is get the child to sit or lay down comfortably.  Elevate the injured area and apply a cool ice pack to help with swelling.  Doing this for a few moments is better than not doing it at all.  If the child continues with increasing in pain or the area continues to swell, contact an adult to let them access the situation.

I would hugely recommend taking a CPR and choking class. Your local fire department or hospital should offer these classes.  You never know when that one time you could save a person’s life by just knowing what to do in an emergency.  Being a mom of 10 children, I have, on two occasions experienced my child choking and had to perform the Heimlich maneuver.  These are valuable things to know.  It will take a few hours out of your life, but well worth the time.

Nose bleed

If a child or an adult has a nose bleed, I was always taught to tilt their head backwards.  That is incorrect. The correct thing to do would be to pinch their nose and have them lean forward a bit.  Do this for 10 minutes. If it still continues to bleed for over 1/2 hour seek professional help.

Severe allergic reaction

A person could have a severe allergic reaction to a bug bite, nuts, shell fish, or any other item that they may be allergic to.   They may develop a red, blotchy rash, itchiness or swelling on their hands, feet, or face.  Their breathing may slow down.  In this situation, call 911 immediately.

Asthma attack

If a child is having an asthma attack, they won’t be able to breathe.  If they have medication, administer it.  If it does not work, call 911 immediately.

Poisoning in children

If you know that a child has taken something like too much medicine or chemicals try and gather the item that they ingested and call 911 immediately or your local Poison Control Center.  They will want to know how much the child has taken and will help advise you on what to do.  **Keep all chemicals and medicines locked up and away from small children!

Fever in young children

A normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees.  If a child is running a temperature you can do a few things to help lower that number.  If parents recommend it you can give a fever reducer such as Motrin or Tylenol.  Some parents choose not to use that and you can try to lower it in other ways.  Remove the child’s clothing  and keep light loose things on.  Sponge the head, neck, back and chest with some cool water.  You can give them a cooler bath—nothing that will shock them, but a lukewarm feel.  You can administer water or fruit juice to help bring it down.


***Here are some links to outside websites.  I would advise you take a CPR course to help teach you proper techniques.  Here are some good step by step instructions.

Click here to view how to perform CPR on an adult, it is different than a baby.

Click here to view how to perform CPR on a baby


Personally I have had to perform these choking techniques as a parent, learn what to do if someone is choking.  Especially learn for a baby it is very easy for them to put tiny things in their mouths that someone has left on the floor.

Click here to view how to help an adult when choking

Click here to view how to help a child when choking

Click here to view how to help a baby when choking