Not only adults should be educated when it comes to basic first aid and emergency procedures. Did you know educating your child on basic first aid skills can help them feel empowered, strong, capable, confident, and actually allow them to be helpful in keeping themselves and others safe? After learning this, it won't be totally unexpected when they get hurt and they will have a plan of action to carry out with you.
If you want to teach your child basic skills that can impact their safety and preparedness in a positive way, below are some great places to start.
1. Memorizing Their Home Address, Town, And State
This is an important first step because this information is needed by emergency services in order to respond to an emergency quickly. Once your child knows their address they could relay it to a 911 operator in the event of an emergency. Knowing their babysitter's address or grandparents' address is also advised.
Memorizing names and phone numbers is also a great way for them to always be able to contact you or others. There are numerous ways to make this experience fun for kids to learn this information.
2. How And When To Dial 911
This should be the first course of action for everybody in times where there are serious injuries or life-threatening emergencies. How and when to dial 911 is crucial, even for children to understand. Of course, this comes with a level of responsibility that should be emphasized during the lesson.
Here are things to consider when teaching them HOW to call 911:
How do they access the phone to contact emergency services (911)?
What numbers do they dial? (Some phones allow emergency contact without passcodes)
What button do they click on to access emergency services?
What is their home address?
What might a conversation sound like after they dial 911?
Here are things to consider when teaching them WHEN to call 911:
They are lost
They are scared for their own well being and safety
A stranger is in the house or they see a crime occurring
Someone is choking
There is a fire or smoke
Somebody is bleeding profusely, has a broken bone, etc.
Somebody is not responding to them and nobody else is around (Example: Parent or grandparent is laying on the floor not answering them)
3. Where To Find A First Aid Kit
Every child inevitably scrapes their knee, their elbow, or gets a cut somehow. Having a first-aid kit designed for their use is a good way of educating them on first aid basics. Make sure to keep any dangerous items like medication, scissors, tweezers, or anything that could harm them out of the kit they have access to if you decide to make one accessible.
Teach them responsible usage and to always talk to an adult whenever they believe they should use the kit. This way, you can make sure they are safe and they can ask for help if needed while you supervise them.
4. Stopping The Bleed
Teach your child about how to stop cuts and scrapes from bleeding. If they cut themselves or see someone bleeding (like their sibling), they'll be happy to know that THEY have the ability to help. Keep in mind that blood is dangerous and should not be touched because of diseases, so set safe boundaries for them. For instance, I wouldn't encourage them to touch a stranger's or visitor's open wound they could possibly encounter in a public setting or an odd occasion.
Nonetheless, during an emergency, if they know how to stop bleeding they can help keep somebody alive until help arrives. Here are some tips to consider teaching them:
Call 911 if it's a lot of blood or a large wound
Apply direct pressure onto the wound until it stops bleeding
If the blood soaks through the clean bandage, apply another clean one with pressure.
5. Cleaning A Wound And Applying A Bandage
Once bleeding is stopped the next step is protecting the wound from infection and prepare it for quick healing. Teach them how this is done, and why.
Clean the area with soap and water, alcohol wipes, or iodine swap and let it dry.
Apply an antibiotic ointment.
Use a clean bandage to secure over the wound with tape. (or use a pre-made bandage)
6. Recognize Choking And What To Do
Every time anybody eats or puts something in their mouth the risk of choking is there. When kids understand choking hazards and how to help, they could save a sibling's life. In just seconds when an adult isn't paying attention a child or younger sibling can begin to choke from something small lodged in their throat. If older children recognize the signs they can act immediately and save a life. Things they should learn to look out for are:
Pointing or holding the throat
Face turning a different color
Inability to speak
Once they understand this teach them that the appropriate response is to perform the Heimlich Maneuver by performing abdominal thrusts. You can explain this by saying something like, "Stand behind them, hug them, then quickly squeeze them above their belly button." Explain why, and to stop if something is dislodged from the choking person's throat. Consider teaching them how to indicate to others that they are choking and also how they can perform this maneuver on themselves if nobody is around and they are choking, and to call 911.
Once they understand this, explain unconsciousness and when to call 911.
The next step you could eventually take is teaching them CPR. Remember to always teach them responsibility because performing CPR on somebody who is well (or doesn't need it) can sometimes result in injury.
7. What To Do If Burned
Curious children always touch things, especially when they're told not to. In the event your child is burned, it isn't a bad idea to call 911 if for some reason they are alone. Teach them to cool the burn down right away if they ever burn themselves by running cool (not too cold) water over the burn. They can also use a cool towel and cover their injury.
8. Dealing With A Nose Bleed
Some kids experience nose bleeds. They can be severe if not treated. Your child can stop their nose bleed and know when to call 911 in the event the bleeding won't stop. They should always notify an adult, but other things they should know to do are:
Sit down leaning forward
Pinch the nose under the bridge to stop the blood from flowing
Call 911 if the bleed lasts longer than 15 minutes
9. Fire Safety
Of course, keep your child away from fire and teach them the dangers that can occur and how to avoid them, but in the event that their clothes ever catch on fire teach them, "STOP, DROP, AND ROLL!" Rolling on the grass in outdoor settings on rolling on hard floors for indoor settings is best.
Another thing you and your child can do is practicing fire drills at home. What to expect and what to do are important. Identify escape routes, explain staying low, and let them know if they have ladders in their rooms they might have to use during an emergency.