First aid for families

As a parent or caregiver you are usually the first on the scene to adminster first aid on your child.

This initial treatment can sometimes have a significant impact on the outcome of the childs recovery so ensuring you have basic first aid skills is essential.

Remember though, if it is an emergency, call 111.

Common first aid situations

Cuts and wounds

If the wound is bleeding, after washing your hands, apply gentle pressure with some clean cloth and elevate.  Once the bleeding has stoped you can clean it with tap water and remove any debris. Dry gently and if possible leave uncovered. Click here for more about how to treat cuts and wounds, especially deep ones.


The most important thing with burns is to cool the area by running it under cold water for up to 20 minutes. Once it well cooled and the pain is more bearable, cover the burn with a non-adherant sterile dressing. If you dont have one use clean kitchen plastic wrap. Cover the whole burn and try and eliminate any air as it is this that causes much of the ongoing pain. For more on burns click here.


Once your child starts on solid food or putting things in their mouth, choking can become a reality.  You might observe your baby gagging on their food or milk but that will resolve quickly. Your baby is choking when their arway becomes blocked and prevents them breathing. They will usually cough. Find out how to help your choking baby here.

First aid training

There are first aid training courses perfect for people who look after children. They cover things like making sure the scene is safe, CPR, choking,  resuscitation, and dealing with bleeding, fractures, burns, poisoning, seizures and anaphylaxis. Find a first aid course near you. 

Pain relief

You can purchase pain relief suitable for children over-the counter. They contain active ingredients that make them work in different ways, and so it’s best to administer a product containing an active ingredient that will specifically address your child’s symptoms.

The most common pain relief active ingredient for children in New Zealand are paracetamol and ibuprofen.

If you are having difficulty keeping your child’s pain in control between doses of analgesic (any medicine that is taken to relieve pain), you can give alternate doses of paracetamol and ibuprofen. You must still follow the dosage guide for each drug but you can give paracetamol and then follow two hours later, with a dose of ibuprofen. Discuss this procedure with your pharmacist before beginning this routine as it is not recommended that children under one year take ibuprofen.

Nurofen for Children contains ibuprofen and is a this pleasant tasting sugar free syrup has been formulated to target pain and fever in children. It starts to get to work in 15 minutes to relieve mild to moderate pain  for up to 8 hours.

For children 7 years plus, you could try Nurofen For Children Soft Chewable Capsules . The easy to chew format means that there is no need to take with water providing effcective pain relief for when your child needs it most.

When have you had to use your first aid skills?

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author robynWritten by Robyn Taylor

Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments. 

Favourite motto to live by: “This too will pass.”


  1. Micht 22/05/2019 at 9:49 pm

    Great information…learnt something new with the burn wrapping… will try next time… didnt know bout nurofen chews either…will keep that on my shopping list… thank you for the very handy tips.

  2. Shorrty4life1 20/05/2019 at 1:13 pm

    As a parent I used my first aide skills when my daughter had concussion. I asked what she felt straight after the bang to the head at school. She said blurred vision etc. Then she was seeing thing, major head pain and nausea. I toke her to A&E got sent her then she started vomiting so she was back again to,hospital and monitoring overnight. Since I have done level 2 first aide course for my nursing course and I honestly recommend it. Since then my hubby has had major head injury and badly concussed and I believe if I didn’t have the knowledge I’d be useless

  3. Mands1980 17/05/2019 at 12:07 pm

    I think as a parent you have to use all sorts of first aid skills when you hear them screaming you think the worst. We have had to use steri strips for bad cuts, dealt with choking children it’s a very very scary situation to deal with, burning hands so putting under water and way more cuts and bruises etc.

  4. Bevik1971 15/05/2019 at 9:34 am

    We had a bit of a scare when our daughter was about 6 weeks old, she vomited and then started choking on the vomit. Was really scary and we ended up calling an ambulance, she was ok in the end but still a yuk situation 🙁 With cuts and bruises we really don’t usually do much, maybe some Arnica cream or some panadol if really needed as I don’t like to use this much 🙂

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