If you're a parent or if you've had any regular contact with children, you know what a challenge it is to keep them safe. No matter how hard you try to protect them, they're naturally active and curious, so accidents and injuries still sometimes occur. Children fall and cut themselves, get sprains, strains and bruises during sports activities, choke on food or small objects, and ingest substances that they shouldn't ingest. In addition to this, because of their small body size, they're more susceptible to heat and cold related illnesses and complications from burns than are adults.

If you're in close contact with children at home or in a work situation, it may be worthwhile to take a pediatric first aid course. This class will give you the education and confidence you need to effectively care for a young population. You'll learn first aid skills specifically designed for children, such as CPR modifications and techniques for clearing the airway. You'll also focus on common childhood mishaps such as nosebleeds, dental emergencies, and fractures.

A special consideration in first aid for children is what to include in the first aid kit. A basic first aid kit (see Emergency Kit for the Home) will work, with the following additions/modifications: 

  • Ear or rectal thermometer: non-glass, with lubricant for rectal thermometer
  • Nasal aspirator: to clear nasal airway in infants
  • Mild soap (antiseptic towelettes may be too harsh for a child's skin)
  • Child safe sunscreen: for outdoor play or travel
  • Emergency dental kit: including teething pain reliever, temporary dental filling material, and container for lost tooth
  • Liquid or chewable over-the-counter medications: formulated for children, such as pain control medication and antihistamine
  • Prescriptions and medical supplies: necessary for any child's chronic conditions
  • Pediatric epinephrine pen (Epi-pen, prescribed by child's physician): for life-threatening allergies, such as peanut or bee sting allergy
  • First aid guide or chart: for treating children
  • American Association of Poison Control national emergency hotline number: 800-222-1222
  • Contact Information: including name and phone number of child's parents and physician (if not your own children) and permission to seek medical treatment, if appropriate