Every year, more than 9 million children go to the Emergency Room following an injury. Many visits can be avoided if good first aid is given. If you are a childcare professional, it is essential for you to have basic first aid skills. If a child is injured whilst in your care, you should know the best way to help treat them as a first responder. Children are prone to bumps, falls, cuts, and grazes, but there can also be more serious incidents, such as a blocked airway that you need to be able to help with. Having these first aid skills means that you are able to adequately protect the children in your care to the best of your ability.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is only to be used if someone has stopped breathing. As a childcare professional, you should learn the procedure, and understand that it is different for babies and children than it is for adults. For children over a year old, you will first need to tilt the head back to open the airways, before sealing your mouth over theirs and giving five initial breaths. You should then push down the middle of their chest with the heel of one hand. You will need to do 30 compressions at 100 beats per minute, and then two breaths. You should continue this cycle until the emergency services arrive or the child recovers. It is also useful to learn how to use a defibrillator. Many cities and towns now provide defibrillators for the public to use if there is an emergency, and they are also found in schools.
How to stop bleeding
When you are looking after children, it is absolutely essential to know how to stop bleeding. For small cuts and wounds, you should apply pressure with clean gauze, tissue, or cloth until the blood stops. If you find that the blood is soaking through the material, you shouldn’t remove it: just add more cloth over the top. If the wound is on a leg or an arm, then raise the limb above the child’s head to slow the bleeding. Once you have stopped the bleeding, make sure that you clean the wound with soap and water, and then bandage to prevent infection. If the cut or wound is deep, contains dirt that can’t be removed, or is caused by an animal bite, then you should go to the Emergency Room immediately.
Strains and sprains
Strains and sprains can easily happen in the playground or park, so it is important to know how to treat these quickly. First, you should look for any signs of soft tissue damage, which could include swelling, bruising, and pain. You should make sure that the child rests the injured area whilst you apply a cold compress, such as an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel. Elevate the injury if you can to reduce the swelling. If you are concerned that there is a broken bone, then immobilize the area and seek help from a doctor or call 911.
As a childcare professional, it is important that you are trained in basic first aid skills. You will need to regularly update your training so that you always have this knowledge fresh in your mind.