Children can be at risk of injuries (accidents) in the home. Most are not serious, but it is worth keeping a first aid kit. This will help you deal with minor injuries.
Emergency action required: Important
First aid does not replace medical care. Seek medical help if you think an injury is serious. Phone 112 or 999 in an emergency.
When to get medical help for your child
Your first aid box should be waterproof and easy to carry. Keep it locked and store it out of the reach of children.
If someone else is caring for your children, let them know where you keep the kit. Many people also keep a small first aid kit in their car for emergencies.
Do not store medicine in your first aid kit. This is because a child might take medicine from it. Keep all medicine in a locked cupboard.
Wash your hands properly before and after giving first aid.
Check use-by dates
Remember to keep your first aid kit up to date. Replace used items and check use-by dates of all medicines held in your locked cupboard. Throw away anything past its use-by date.
First aid manual
It can be hard to remember what to do when you're in a panic and your child is crying. An easy-to-use guide can help refresh your memory . Print out the HSE child safety first aid guide (PDF, 3.1 MB, 4 pages) and keep it with your first aid box.
Emergency phone numbers list
Put a list of emergency phone numbers into the kit.
The numbers should include:
- 112 and 999
- your home's Eircode
- your nearest emergency department (ED) that sees children
- your GP
- your local GP out-of-hours service
You can also keep a list of these numbers close to your landline.
Include the following things in your first aid kit:
- plasters - buy them in a variety of sizes for minor cuts, blisters and sore spots
- adhesive tape - this can hold dressings in place and you can also apply it to smaller cuts
- crepe bandages - these are useful for support or holding a dressing in place
- tubular bandages - these are helpful when a child has strained a joint and needs extra support
- triangular bandages - you can use these for making a sling
- sterile gauze dressings - these are good for covering larger sore areas and cuts
- scissors for cutting clothes, plasters and tape to size
- safety pins - you can use these to secure an arm sling in place around the elbow area
You use tweezers to remove thorns, splinters and ticks. Never use tweezers to remove objects from your child's nose, mouth or ears – get medical help instead.
Remember to wash your hands before and after you give first aid. If you do not have access to water, hand sanitiser is a good option.
Gloves can protect you from infection when giving first aid. They also protect the injured person if they have open wounds or are bleeding.
Use sterile-type gloves when dealing with open wounds.
You can use non-sterile gloves if you need to protect yourself only. For example, when cleaning up blood spills, or dealing with poo and vomit.
Antiseptic cream or spray
Antiseptic cream or spray can be applied to minor cuts or grazes after cleaning. This will help prevent infection. Some may also help to numb pain.
The best first aid treatment for burns is placing it under cool running water for 20 minutes. Only use burn gels or hydrogels if you are not near cool running water. Apply cool running water when it is available.
Antiseptic wipes are a handy way to clean minor cuts and grazes and help prevent infection. To use them, take a fresh wipe and clean the wound. Work gently away from the centre to remove dirt and germs. Always follow manufacturer instructions on the package.
Use absorbent pads to lightly apply pressure to a wound that is bleeding. Do this until the bleeding stops. Make sure there is nothing stuck in the wound first.
Use a digital or electronic thermometer. These are quick and accurate. You can also use them under the armpit. Always place the thermometer under the armpit for children under 5. Always follow the manufacturer instructions.
Do not use mercury thermometers. If a mercury thermometer breaks, it can be poisonous.
Saline solution and eye bath
This is useful for washing bits of dust or loose particles out of sore eyes.
For your fridge and freezer
You can use ice packs or a packet of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel for minor head injuries. These can be used for short periods of time regularly for the first few days. They will help to bring down any swelling.
For when you're out and about
If you are away from home, you might not be able to access clean water.
The following items may be useful to include in your first aid kit:
- burn gel
- sterile water, in a sealed disposable container, for wound cleaning
- hand sanitiser