Whether it's your kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews, there are times when you'll have to help an injured child. Preparing your first aid kit for children is very helpful. Kids are prone to getting cuts and bruises; however, they also sustain their share of serious injuries.
In this article, we'll talk about all things pediatrics (kids), and the supplies they require for first aid kits. We'll talk about the medical gear you should have and how you should store it.
First Aid Gear for Toddlers and Babies
Usually, the age of 12-14 is when children begin being treated more like adults. Children under this age category may need special first aid techniques and equipment. However, this can depend on the child's size and the nature of the illness.
As you might know, not all medical gear made for adults will work with young kids. All parents and caregivers should be aware of how to care for children in an emergency.
To prepare for a battle, you must study the enemy (or injury).
Most Common Injuries in Children
While adults are more averse the medical conditions (such as heart attacks, strokes, breathing problems, etc.), children are more likely to be victims of trauma - such as falls, burns, drowning, and cuts and scrapes.
Here are the most common injuries in children:
- Foreign bodies (choking and swallowing)
- Bites and stings
- Car accidents
- Cuts and punctures
- Blunt force injury (hit or struck)
Let's look at these injuries and discuss the first aid gear to treat them.
Childhood Falls and Injuries
It's no secret that children run and around like crazy! From jumping on the couch to running through the halls to swinging from the monkey bars - falls will happen.
However, on a more serious note, it's also fairly common for infants to roll off beds or couches. Though, many times, children's flexible bones a resilient to a fall, they will get hurt from time to time - especially if they fall on a hard surface.
Child first aid gear for falls:
Ice packs. Even if the child isn't seriously injured, a cold pack can soothe a bruise.
Moldable splints. Kids will be less tolerant of uncomfortable splints, so a good moldable splint will go a long way toward bringing comfort. And they are easy to pack!
Medical tape and pressure wrap. These work well for strains and sprains and for holding ice packs in place.
Triangle bandages. Have a ton of uses, as a splint, bandage, or even a modified tourniquet.
These are some of the best tools for treating broken bones and minor bumps and bruises.
When to go to the ER: Always call 911 or go to the ER if you feel unsure. In general, if the child hits their head and loses consciousness or isn't acting themselves, you should consider greater medical treatment.
Foreign Bodies - Choking Hazards - Splinters
In the medical world, a foreign body is anything that becomes lodged or placed in the body that isn't supposed to be there—for example, a child swallowing a coin, or choking on a Lego.
However, this could also be things like a splinter or sand in the eye. Although these things aren't life-threatening, they can still cause children considerable discomfort.
First aid items to treat foreign bodies in children:
Training. Be sure you know how to help a child who is choking!
Tweezers. This tool is mostly helpful for splinters but could also be useful for small bits of glass or small nails.
Suction units or anti-choking devices. If you're curious, you can read about some advances with suctions devices for choking. There have been some successes and reported concerns.
Bulb syringe. Mostly useful for clearing infants' nostrils, but clean ones can also work for wound irrigation.
Child First Aid Supplies for Burns
Even minor burns can be especially painful for children. Besides getting the child away from the burning object and providing some cooling (it's important to stop the burning process), parents and caregivers can carry some medical gear to help a child if they're burn.
Note: large burns are very serious. If a child has sustained a significant burn, call 911 or get them to the ER quickly.
Here are some first aid supplies to treat pediatric burns:
Burn dressing. The burn dressing can help protect and provide relief to a small burn.
Burn gel. This type of gel works for small burns and can provide some relief for sunburns - a little bit of aloe vera will also do the trick!
Let's move on to bites and stings.
Bites and Stings
Kids can have dangerous reactions to animal bites or insect stings. If your child has ever had a serious reaction to a sting, carrying an Epi-pen is advised - talk to a doctor, as these usually require a prescription.
Keeping a child calm and providing some pain relief can go a long way toward preventing the spread of insect or snake venom.
First aid gear to treat a child who has been bitten or stung:
Benadryl. Oral Benadryl probably won't ward off a serious reaction (you'll need epinephrine), but it can reduce swelling and discomfort.
Triple antibiotic ointment. You can apply this to help prevent infection after animal bites.
Sting pads. These will help relieve the area around the site. Again, for a serious reaction, you'll need greater medical care.
Note: You can get all this stuff in one package. Check out my boo-boo kit for treating minor injuries.
Children are, sadly, the victim of many car accidents. One of the best things you can do to protect your child from a car accident is to practice safe driving and double-check that their car seat is up to code. Make sure you know how to secure the child safely and that they haven't outgrown the car seat.
Unfortunately, car accidents can cause nearly any type of injury, requiring a whole range of bandages, airway supplies, and tourniquets. To learn more about those things, read my article on building a vehicle first aid kit.
Here are a few child-specific first aid items to consider:
SWAT-T Tourniquet. This tourniquet will be the most comfortable for children, and it has multiple uses.
Compressed gauze. This stuff is the peanut butter of any first aid kit - it works for tons of applications.
Toys. Small items like a toy can help a child stay calm during a scary situation.
These are just a few ideas. For car accidents, consider carrying chest seals, airway supplies, and emergency blankets.
Cuts and Punctures
Kids poke themselves on sticks, slice open their heads after falling, and seem to cut themselves in the strangest ways. Ensuring you wash injuries with clean water and cover them with a band-aid should do the trick. Carrying some triple antibiotic ointment may also come in handy.
Medical items to treat cuts on a child:
Butterfly band-aids. These little strips can help close a gaping wound.
Standard band-aids. These things can solve most problems!
Syringe. A clean syringe is useful for cleaning off wounds, especially in awkward places like those hidden in hair or the ear.
Now, let's talk blunt force.
Blunt force is also related to falls and car accidents. However, this specifically pertains to being hit by something like a baseball or a large stick (probably from another kid!)
For blunt force injuries, remain suspicious for any internal injuries - especially if the force was to the head, chest, or the abdomen. For these injuries, usually, an ice pack will help with bruises. Also, you might consider some child-rated over-the-counter pain medication to keep them comfortable. It's always smart to talk this over with a physician!
Drowning First Aid Supplies for Children
Drowning and water-related injuries are not uncommon in children. To treat drowning, you can carry OPAs and NPAs, rescue masks, and suction devices, but it will be most helpful to know CPR and how to perform rescue breathing.
The best way to treat drowning is to make sure that it doesn't happen. Even bathtubs and shallow pools can be very dangerous for young children. Also, just because a child knows how to swim doesn't mean they shouldn't wear a life jacket while in a boat or around any deep water.
Best Place to Store a First Aid Kit for Children
You should build your child first aid kit within your main medical packs. If you're stocking tourniquets, you should have both adult and child tourniquets ready to go - we mentioned the SWAT-T earlier.
You should consider getting those Dora the Explorer band-aids and maybe even a stuffed animal for kids. Children are highly responsive to distraction techniques, which are especially helpful during an emergency.
The most important pediatric first aid kit is the one you store in your head! Knowing how to perform infant CPR, how to help a choking child, and how to perform bleeding control is absolutely invaluable.
The more you learn, the better you will understand when to take the child to the hospital. However, it's always better to er on the side of caution if you're unsure.