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First Aid Essentials


Abdominal thrusts given in choking (earlier called Heimlich Manoeuvre)

Train yourself to recognise the early signs of choking and if the child is unable to cough or speak. This technique is seldom as dramatic as demonstrated in the movies but the results are. Make it a must know to all caregivers, especially around toddlers.


Injury care

Keep an icepack and some sterile gauze dressings and gloves along with antiseptic at a handy location in your home. For bruises, ice or a cold compress is useful in the first 24 hours, then switch to warm compresses. In case of a severe injury, immobilise the limbs if you suspect a broken bone. Have the injured child lie down and cover him to prevent loss of body heat. If possible, position the head slightly lower than the trunk, raise the legs and elevate the site of bleeding. Wearing gloves, remove any obvious dirt or debris from the wound. Use a sterile bandage or clean cloth and apply continuous pressure for at least 20 minutes without looking to see if the bleeding has stopped. Maintain pressure by binding the wound tightly with a bandage or clean cloth and adhesive tape or use your hands. Sometimes if the bleeding doesn’t stop with direct pressure, apply pressure to the main blood vessels delivering blood to the injured area (pressing against the bone with fingers flat) with your other hand. Pressure points of the arm are on the inside of the arm just above the elbow and below the armpit and for the leg they are just behind the knee and in the groin. Immobilize the injured body part once the bleeding has stopped. Leave the bandages in place as the child is taken to hospital. DO NOT hastily move a child if you suspect an injury over the head, neck or back. Call for medical assistance and keep them warm.


Dehydration and diarrhoea care

Dehydration from diarrhoea and vomiting are the commonest reasons kids end up in the hospital. Discuss with your doctor and understand when to give fluids, when to stop, and how to feed during times of severe abdominal problems.


Shock recognition

In medical terms, shock is an emergency where the body’s vital organs suffer a lack of blood or oxygen. This can happen in many conditions. Familiarise yourself with the early signs (cold clammy skin, lacklustre eyes, fast heartbeat, lack of orientation to surroundings) so you can act fast. Always ensure that the room a sick child is in has adequate lighting, ventilation and that the child’s hands and feet are kept warm.


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Dr. Krishna Mahathi holds diplomas in Pediatrics and in the management of allergies and asthma. Years of working and interacting with children and parents have given her insight into developmental disabilities. She wishes that there was more awareness and acceptance of the issues that differently-abled children face and hopes that through this blog, she can enable thse children and their families to make sensible and informed choices.

One thought on “First Aid Essentials

  1. Kritika Srinivasan

    Helpful tips Krishna – co-incidentally, the current issue of ParentEdge has an article on First Aid tips and tricks. Here are some useful videos that I came across when working on the article:


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