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Here are simple ways to teach your child some basic practices

Published on:16 September 2021, 12:30pm IST
We might think ‘kids are kids’, but it’s important to equip them with simple first aid practices that will help them and others stay safe, in case of any emergency.
Dr Sanjay Shah
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first aid
It’s important to teach your children some basic first aid practices. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Smitha, 34, is a working mom and must smartly juggle between household responsibilities and office work during these pandemic times. Her 6-year-old daughter goes down to play with her friends in her society garden. One unfortunate day, one of her daughter’s friends slipped from the slide and had a fall. Smitha’s little one came home running to get an antiseptic bandage for her friend’s wound.  

Smitha was amazed by her daughter’s immediate response and action, but was also worried about her safety. It’s comforting to know that our children are competent, especially when it comes to first aid. They can learn survival strategies that human beings should know. Moreover, thinking and talking about potential worst-case scenarios are often helpful. We want to protect our children from fears and allow them to “just be kids”, playing and growing, trusting us to keep everything scary at bay. However, preparing and training them in first aid practices is essential for children, so they use the right methods. All we need to do is combine learning with our day-to-day slips and falls, and our job is done. 

The first step to do so is to understand the fundamentals of first aid. Mentioned below are the three main aspects:
  • First aid is an application of skills to preserve life, prevent deterioration and promote recovery 
  • It is a vital skill that requires learning 
  • Golden rules of first aid include safety first, perform tasks in a logical order 

The fundamentals are simple. If while playing or by any reason a child gets injured or experiences any bleeding, it’s vital to do the following: 

  • Applying pressure to the bleeding wound 
  • Icing a swollen injury 
  • Applying cold running water or a wet towel to a burn 
  • Pinching the nostrils for 10 minutes for a nosebleed 
  • Draping a blanket over a person in shock 
  • Gently rolling a person into the recovery position 
world first aid day
Knowing first aid can be fascinating for children if we use the right methods. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Implement these few approaches to educate your child on first-aid practices.
The world is your classroom

This starts when they’re toddlers. Any scrape, nosebleed, or fall from the mango tree is a teaching moment. You can verbally describe every step you’re taking. Teach them how much pressure must be applied to stop the bleeding. Next, show them how to gently wash the dirt out of the cut with clean water, and then apply a bandage with a bit of compression. 

Also, read: The ultimate nutrition guide for children with autism

Play doctor

Kids learn best when they feel relaxed and playful. Engage with their natural love of playing doctor by pretending to be their imaginary patient, and telling them your symptoms. Switch roles and let them practice being the calm, reassuring caregiver. Even though you use play in your teaching, be explicit about what your child is learning. Go through the first aid kit together, and have some extra bits of gauze, tape, and cotton balls on hand so your child can practice with real tools. Make sure your family kit is well organised so a child can find recognisable tools quickly and have illustrated instruction pamphlets on hand. 

Also, read: Covid-19 third wave: Is there any key to keeping children safe and calm during this time?

Make sure your child knows how to get help

Often, the most important thing a child can do in a crisis is call for assistance. The child must know where to find the emergency numbers. If these can be memorised with them, even better. Let kids use the phone to practice and memorise the sequence of the emergency numbers, but don’t forget to stress how important it is to never use emergency numbers for play or curiosity.  

world first aid day
Make sure they will learn the right technique. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
For those kids who are older, train them in the following manner:


Kids should get familiar with a basic primary assessment, sometimes abbreviated with the acronym DRAB: 

  • Danger: Take a moment to make sure it is safe to approach the injured person — are there any hazards such as electrical wires, damaged structures, moving vehicles, or falling objects? If the surroundings are dangerous, get help right away before trying to assist. 
  • Response: Talk to the injured person. Do they answer questions? Do they appear to be awake or unconscious? The emergency operator will need to know how they respond 
  • Airway: If unconscious, gently tip the head back to ensure the tongue is not blocking the airway. If your child can practice on you several times, it won’t feel awkward if they ever have to do it in reality. 
  • Breathing: Practice checking for breathing with role-plays as the ‘patient’, ask your child to assess you while you either breathe quietly or hold your breath for 10 seconds. The child can then call for emergency help 

In the end, a kid is still a kid. Part of our job is to assure our kids that they never need to be heroes or overstep their abilities. Make sure children know that their first and most important job is to stay safe themselves, and then help others. 

Dr Sanjay Shah Dr Sanjay Shah

Dr Sanjay Shah, General Physician, Fortis Hospital, Mulund