Practical safety and first-aid tips to teach children

Father and child sitting on the floor while reading from their tablet, perhaps learning some first-aid tips

It’s never too early for children to learn about safety.

No matter how careful a child is, getting hurt or having a medical emergency is part of growing up. Sharing basic first-aid tips with children and showing them how to handle emergency situations is essential. It’s never too early to learn about first aid, especially since parents and guardians can’t be with children 24/7. At some point, children will have to be on their own, be it at school, in their classroom, on the playground or during an educational field trip. 

Knowledge of first-aid fundamentals and emergency responses can be handy in times of crisis. Here are some practical safety and first-aid tips to share with young children. 

Finding and using a first-aid kit 

One of the first practical first-aid tips to give a child is where to locate a first-aid kit. Place it in a convenient and easy-to-find spot. Once the child knows where to find the kit, adults need to explain the contents of the first-aid kit, the purpose of the items and how to use each one. You can create scenarios and incorporate how the supplies can be used to handle the situation through simple demonstrations. 

First-aid kits from your local chemist may contain sharp objects, like tweezers or scissors. You can put together a child-friendly kit that will avoid the misuse of hazardous first-aid items. Your child-friendly kit may hold items like bandages, medical tape, cotton balls, a flashlight, water and emergency contact numbers. 

Treating burns 

Children are naturally curious. They spend much of their time exploring and touching things. If they touch a hot surface, like a stovetop, curling iron or oven, the simplest way to deal with a burn is to cool the burn with cool or lukewarm water (NOT cold). Never use ice or a greasy substance to treat the burn. Cover the burn with a cool, wet towel or bandage that won’t stick to the burned area. Make sure to protect it by keeping it clean and washing it gently with soap and water.  

A young girl in a cape and superhero costume looking at the city

Dealing with nosebleeds 

Nosebleeds are common among children. These can be caused by various things, such as a change in temperature or weather, dry air, blowing the nose too hard or a minor injury. When a child’s nose bleeds, teach them to pinch the nostrils for five to 10 minutes. Prematurely checking if the nose has stopped bleeding may cause it to start again. If there’s a cold compress available, apply it to the bridge of the nose. Don’t put tissues or gauze in the nostrils. Remind children to be extra careful, avoid picking their nose, not blow their nose and avoid any dangerous play that could make their nose start bleeding again. 

Handling minor cuts and scrapes 

Whether children are at home, inside the classroom or playing outdoors, it is common for them to fall, tumble or trip and get cuts and scrapes. One basic form of first aid children can learn is how to deal with minor cuts. Teach them to apply direct pressure to the wound and cover it with a gauze pad, paper towel or a piece of clean clothing until the bleeding stops. If the bandage becomes soaked in blood, they can replace it with a new covering. But if there’s excessive bleeding or the situation becomes life-threatening, the best course of action to take is to call an emergency hotline. 

Calling an emergency hotline 

During life-threatening situations or in the event of injury, teach children to call the emergency hotline in your country. For example, calling triple zero (000) in Australia is the emergency service number to get help from the police, ambulance or fire department. Establish that this number is for urgent calls only and should never be called as a joke or prank. 

Teach children to identify what makes up an actual emergency. A big fire, when someone has excessive bleeding or a broken bone, is lost, or seeing a crime happen are examples of situations that need an emergency response. When they’re in contact with the operator, they must remember three important things: 

  • The emergency they need help with 
  • Their full name 
  • Their location or complete address 

If you have children, it’s never too early to share these timeless and useful first-aid and safety tips. A child can save themself, help another child or even an adult. It always pays to be prepared. First aid can save a life.  

First aid in childcare 

Under Quality Area 4 of the National Quality Standards (NQS), first-aid training is a requirement for early childhood care and education providers. Depending on the type of service, there are differences in first-aid training requirements for staff. For centre-based services, at least one staff member or nominated supervisor must have an up-to-date approved first-aid qualification, anaphylaxis management training, and up-to-date asthma management training. 

For Outside of School Hours Care (OSHC), National Regulation136(2) states that at all times, in any place children are being educated or cared for, there must be at least one staff member or nominated supervisor in attendance at the site with an up-to-date approved first-aid qualification, anaphylaxis management training, and asthma management training. 

For Approved Family Day Care services, each registered educator and assistant must hold up-to-date approved first-aid qualifications, have taken anaphylaxis management training and have up-to-date asthma management training. 

Playground allows you to store digital documentation of staff first-aid training to help you stay compliant. Visit our Playground page to learn more about your centre could be using our educator platform. 

Source: First Edition First Aid Training, Boston Parents Paper 

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Patricia Podolig Donaldson

Marketing Content Specialist

Marketing and communications professional with over eight years of experience, writing about Xplor Childcare & Education’s comprehensive suite of products since 2021.