As part of my training I had to do (and maintain) a paediatric first aid qualification. The last time that I did was with St John Ambulance in 2011 so it is that time again for me to redo my qualification. As fortune had it I got the chance to do a 1hr session with them that covered the some of the basic first aid techniques like chocking, CPR, bites and stings and soft tissue wounds. Although I will still have to do my 2-day paediatric course, it was a good way to brush up on these life saving procedures. I have put together some of the simple tips that could help you save a life if needed, remember it only takes 3 minutes without oxygen before brain damage sets in.


For Babies:

  • Check the mouth for any obstructions, if you can see if, fish it out, but don’t go looking around for it
  • Lie them across your leg, support their head and neck with one hand and do 5 hard, back slaps
  • If the object isn’t dislodged turn them over and do 5 chest thrusts using 2 fingers – make sure do these on the sternum which would be in the middle of their nipple line
  • Continue doing backslaps and chest thrust until the object is dislodged, if it hasn’t come out after 3 rounds call 999

For Children:

  • Check their mouth for any obstructions
  • With them standing up, lean them slightly forward and support them while you give them 5 hard back slaps
  • If the object hasn’t dislodged stand behind them and give 5 abdominal thrusts. Do this by placing your fist, with your other hand on top of it, between their belly button and bottom of their sternum, and sharply pulling in and up
  • Keep repeating this until the object has dislodged, after 3 rounds of each call 999
  • If the child or baby becomes unconscious start CPR


For Babies (up to 1 year):

  • Lay them on a table
  • Put one hand on their forehead and the other under their chin and tilt their head back to open the airways
  • Cover their mouth and nose with your mouth and give 5 rescue breaths while watching their chest to see if it rises
  • Give 30 chest compressions using 2 fingers (to the beat of the song Staying Alive), in the middle of their chest
  • Give 2 rescue breaths
  • Repeat until help arrives or they start breathing

For Children:

  • With one hand on their forehead and one under their chin, tilt their head back. This is to move the tongue off the back of their throats, which could prevent air getting in
  • Pinch their nose and give 5 rescue breaths
  • With one hand on the middle of their chest give 30 chest compressions
  • Give 2 rescue breaths
  • Repeat doing 30 compressions to 2 rescue breaths until help arrives or they start breathing

If you are in a public building ask if they have a portable defibrillator, they can be used on both and adults and children, just not babies. The device has instruction on how to use it and will actually talk you through what you need to do.

As I was told today don’t worry there is nothing that you can do to them that will make their condition worse.

Bites and Stings

  • Run any bites and stings under cold running water and cover with a plaster.
  • If a sting has been left in, remove it using a credit card and brush it off in the direction it went in. DON’T use tweezers to pull it out that will only inject more venom into them.

Soft Tissue Damage

  • Don’t get them to stick any cut fingers in their mouths (it is a breeding ground for bacteria).
  • Wash them under cold water and apply a plaster until they have scabbed over
  • Try not to use Savlon, it stops the wound from drying out and healing over. Use it once the scab has formed if there is any redness
  • With nosebleeds get them to pinch the soft tissue at the front of their nose (not the bridge) and lean their head forward. If it is still bleeding after 30 minutes take them to hospital


I hope that this little bit of information will help you; hopefully you will never have to use itClick here to learn some of the First Aid basics that can help you care for an infant or child who is in trouble. I would also highly recommend booking yourself onto one of their courses, I am off to go and book myself one now.