First aid is an essential skill in general, but once you become a mom, it’s infinitely more necessary. Kids get hurt. It’s what they do! Even though I worked as an Industrial First Aid Attendant back in the day, my boys have made me shudder at some of the things they’ve gone through. Every mom needs to know the following first aid techniques.
How to Stop Bleeding
Blood can be scary and it’s even more terrifying when it’s your child’s head that it’s pouring out of. The first thing to remember is that even tiny cuts can gush blood, particularly on the head. Stopping the bleeding is the first step to figuring out what to do next and to decide whether your child needs medical attention.
The best way to stop bleeding is with pressure. Grab a piece of gauze, a towel or even just your own two hands and press hard on the wound. At this point, remember that stopping the flow of blood is the most important thing . . . so even if it hurts, this must be done. If the blood seeps through whatever you’re using to press down, add another piece on top, instead of taking it away.
It’s usually a good idea to have the person bleeding lie down or at least sit so they don’t pass out. Keep the bleeding part elevated if possible and try to keep the person calm and not moving around, since that will help the blood flow faster. Once you’ve slowed the blood, you can check the wound and head to the ER if needed. You should always seek medical attention if the bleeding doesn’t stop in a couple of minutes with steady pressure.
How to Handle an Allergic Reaction
Imagine your child gets stung by a bee and their usual screaming starts to sound strangled. They turn red or start wheezing. What would you do?
Allergic reactions can occur at any age and one of the vital first aid techniques moms need to know is how to handle this. Your child (or anyone, for that matter) may have an allergic reaction to medicine, food (shellfish, nuts, eggs, or dairy products are most likely to cause it), or insect bites. Keep in mind that reactions may worsen over time, so it’s a good idea to get your little one checked out if they appear to have a reaction to something.
Symptoms of an anaphalactic allergic reaction include nausea and vomiting, a rash or hives, difficulty breathing, redness of the skin, swelling in the mouth or throat, and a change in heart rate. Your child may also have trouble talking or swallowing. You will need to call 911 immediately if this happens.
Giving your child an antihistamine may give them a bit more time so you can get to the hospital. If you know that they have a previous allergy, you should have an EpiPen or something similar on hand so that you can administer it if needed.
How to Do CPR
I highly recommend that every mother go ahead and take a child CPR course. It’s one of those skills that you may (hopefully) never need, but if you do need it . . . well, it’s a skill you really want to have in an emergency. CPR for infants and small children is different than that for adults, so you should know how to do both. It could literally save a life. You can see how to do CPR on an infant here. The video below will show you how to do CPR on older children and toddlers.
How to Do Mouth to Mouth
What do you do if someone stops breathing? This is again a skill that you hope to never need, but it is one you desperately need when you do need it. Breathing for your child can help keep oxygen circulating and prevent major brain injury from oxygen deprivation. Of course, you should know how to do this for adults, as well, but as a mom, your first priority is to know how to do mouth to mouth for your children, should it come to that.
The video above also shows how to do artificial respiration. You don’t need to do the chest compressions if your child’s heartbeat is notable.
How to Stop Choking
Seeing your child choking on a piece of food or toy is terrifying. It’s also the leading cause of death in children under 4, so every mother should know how to stop a child from choking. The technique varies, depending on the age of the child. Obviously, you want to prevent choking in the first place if possible, but toddlers get into everything and often find stuff we never expected.
If your little one is still coughing and able to suck in breathe, they’re not in the danger zone just yet. However, if your baby can’t cough or breathe, it’s a serious situation and you need to get that food out fast. You can use the Heimlich manuever on older children and adults. This requires standing behind the person and putting a fist into their solar plexus, with the other hand flat over it. You then pull your hands back and up, to force the chokable object out. Click here for more information on the Heimlich.
Babies are a little more complicated, since they’re so tiny, but you can easily flip them over to whack their back. Here’s how to do that:
No mother ever wants to think about something happening to her child, but unfortuantely, kids tend to get into some pretty freaky scrapes. Chances are, you’ll have to use at least one of these first aid techniques at some point in your career as a mother. Knowing how to help your little one in trouble is far better than ignoring the potential issue.
Look for a child safety or CPR coursse in your town or call the Red Cross and organize your own. There’s nothing more valuable than your child’s life, apart from possible the ability to save it.