TIPP SHEETS: This two-page guide describes basic first aid steps for the following medical situations: eye injuries, fractures and sprains, fever, head injuries, bites and stings, poisoning, seizures, fainting, broken teeth, burns and scalds, nosebleeds, skin wounds, and choking. It also includes detailed instructions for administering CPR to infants and older children.
Call 911 or your local emergency number for a severely ill or injured child.
Call 1-800-222-1222 (Poison Help) if you have a poison emergency.
Know how to get help.
Make sure the area is safe for you and the child.
When possible, personal protective equipment (such as gloves) should be used.
Position the child appropriately if her airway needs to be opened or CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is needed. (Please see other side.)
DO NOT MOVE A CHILD WHO MAY HAVE A NECK OR BACK INJURY (from a fall, motor vehicle crash, or other injury, or if the child says his neck or back hurts) unless he is in danger.
Look for anything (such as emergency medical identification jewelry or paperwork) that may give you information about health problems.
Stings, Bites, and Allergies
Fever in children is usually caused by infection. It also can be caused by chemicals, poisons, medicines, an environment that is too hot, or an extreme level of overactivity.
Take the child’s temperature to see if he has a fever. Most pediatricians consider any thermometer reading 100.4°F (38°C) or higher as a fever. However, the way the child looks and acts is more important than how high the child’s temperature is.
Call the pediatrician right away if the child has a fever and
Appears very ill, is unusually drowsy, or is very fussy
Has other symptoms such as a stiff neck, a severe headache, severe sore throat, severe ear pain, an unexplained rash, repeated vomiting or diarrhea, or difficulty breathing
Has a condition causing immune suppression (such as sickle cell disease, cancer, or chronic steroid use)
Has had a first seizure but is no longer seizing
Is younger than 3 months (12 weeks) and has a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher
Has been in a very hot place, such as an overheated car
To make the child more comfortable, dress him in light clothing, give him cool liquids to drink, and keep him calm. The pediatrician may recommend fever medicines. Do NOT use aspirin to treat a child’s fever. Aspirin has been linked with Reye syndrome, a serious disease that affects the liver and brain.
Make sure the child is up to date for tetanus vaccination. Any open wound may need a tetanus booster even when the child is currently immunized. If the child has an open wound, ask the pediatrician if the child needs a tetanus booster.
If anything is splashed in the eye, flush gently with water for at least 15 minutes. Call Poison Help (1-800-222-1222) or the pediatrician for further advice. Any injured or painful eye should be seen by a doctor. Do NOT touch or rub an injured eye. Do NOT apply medicine. Do NOT remove objects stuck in the eye. Cover the painful or injured eye with a paper cup or eye shield until you can get medical help.
Fractures and Sprains
If an injured area is painful, swollen, or deformed, or if motion causes pain, wrap it in a towel or soft cloth and make a splint with cardboard or other firm material to hold the arm or leg in place. Do not try to straighten. Apply ice or a cool compress wrapped in thin cloth for not more than 20 minutes. Call the pediatrician or seek emergency care. If there is a break in the skin near the fracture or if you can see the bone, cover the area with a clean bandage, make a splint as described above, and seek emergency care.
If the foot or hand below the injured part is cold or discolored (blue or pale), seek emergency care right away.
Burns and Scalds
Keep the child in a sitting position with the head tilted slightly forward. Apply firm, steady pressure to both nostrils by squeezing them between your thumb and index finger for 5 minutes. If bleeding continues or is very heavy, call the pediatrician or seek emergency care.
If the child is breathing, lay her on her side to prevent choking. Call 911 or your local emergency number for a prolonged seizure (more than 5 minutes).
Make sure the child is safe from objects that could injure her. Be sure to protect her head. Do not put anything in the child’s mouth. Loosen any tight clothing. Start rescue breathing if the child is blue or not breathing. (Please see other side.)
DO NOT MOVE A CHILD WHO MAY HAVE A SERIOUS HEAD, NECK, OR BACK INJURY. This may cause further harm.
Call 911 or your local emergency number right away if the child
Has a seizure (convulsion)
Experiences clumsiness or inability to move any body part
Has oozing of blood or watery fluid from ears or nose
Has abnormal speech or behavior
Call the pediatrician for a child with a head injury and any of the following:
Difficulty being awakened
Persistent headache or vomiting
For any questions about less serious injuries, call the pediatrician.
If the child has been exposed to or ingested a poison, call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222. A poison expert is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If a child is unconscious, becoming drowsy, having convulsions, or having trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number. Bring the poisonous substance (safely contained) with you to the hospital.
Check the child’s airway and breathing. If necessary, call 911 and begin rescue breathing and CPR. (Please see other side.)
If vomiting has occurred, turn the child onto one side to prevent choking. Elevate the feet above the level of the heart (about 12 inches).
Learn and Practice CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation).
If Alone with a Child who is Choking…
Shout for Help.
Start Rescue Efforts.
Call 911 or your Local Emergency Number.
Start First aid for Choking IF
The child cannot breathe at all (the chest is not moving up and down).
The child cannot cough or talk, or looks blue.
The child is found unconscious/unresponsive. (Go to CPR.)
Do not Start First aid for Choking IF
The child can breathe, cry, or talk.
The child can cough, sputter, or move air at all. The child’s normal reflexes are working to clear the airway.
If at any time an object is coughed up or the infant/child starts to breathe, stop rescue breaths and call 911 or your local emergency number.
Ask your pediatrician for information on choking/CPR instructions for children older than 8 years and for information on an approved first aid or CPR course in your community.