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Why do a first aid course?

In the event of an emergency involving your own child, it is very easy to panic. The best way to cut through that feeling is to have knowledge and training. You must know exactly what to do and how to help. An ambulance may be 5 minutes away or longer. First aid in the first 5 minutes could save your child’s life or make the difference between a minor or more severe injury.


Most people have done a first aid course at some stage, but often it is general and addresses adult emergencies rather than those specific to children. It may also have been a long time ago. Paediatric first aid is straight forward, but the key to getting it right is being properly trained.. How do you do CPR on an infant? How do you help a choking baby? What do you do if your child burns their hand or falls from the playground and bangs their head? What if they have a seizure? Yearly refresher or update courses are key to maintaining the skills to assist your child in an emergency.


Some common illnesses/injuries:


Fevers – Fevers are the body’s way of fighting infection. By raising the temperature the body inhibits the life cycle of the virus or bacteria, allowing the immune system to fight the infection. Fevers themselves are not harmful, but it is important to identify the cause. Most fevers in children are caused by viruses. However, if you are concerned your child is more unwell, review with your GP can help rule out the rarer, more serious causes.


Febrile convulsions – Febrile convulsions or seizures occur in some children. They are related to the speed at which the temperature rises and are not related to the height of the fever. They most often occur at the start of an illness and can occur before you are aware the child is unwell. The key is to remain calm and ensure the child is in a safe place. Febrile convulsions are almost always brief and self-limiting. If you are concerned following a convulsion, call an ambulance or attend your GP.


Burns – Burns are common and are usually minor. Cooling is the key – 20 mins under cool running water is vital and must be completed before any other intervention. In small children, it may be best to complete it in 4x5min blocks to prevent their core temperature dropping too low. Seek assistance from your GP for minor burns or the Emergency Dept for larger ones.


Head injuries – Head injuries are one of the most common Emergency presentations and can be scary for parents. Children who do not lose consciousness, have no seizure or vomiting and return to normal immediately after the injury are at low risk of complications. If concerned consult your GP.

Dr Claire Wilkin
Paediatric Emergency Physician
Kidzaid Australia - Chief Medical Advisor.

Interested in taking a paediatric first aid course? click here to learn more