Thursday, February 25, 2016

Basic Baby First Aid

These past few days, I have heard a number of terrible news on deaths of children caused by seemingly innocent things.  One was eating a hotdog and choked, another on a bite of pizza. I was and still am very scared for my Lia. I cannot be with her all the time because I'm a working mom, and even at times that I am with her, I know for a fact that I have no idea what to do in case something I can't even bring myself to imagine accidentally happens. :(

It's about time I, and all of us parents, learn about first aid for babies and children. This is something we would never want to need to use (because nobody wants anything bad to happen, right?), but is extremely necessary in case the unexpected comes about.

Photo from Google Images :)


Helping a Choking Baby
This is first on my list because it's the leading cause of death in children ages 14 and below. To help a choking baby, these are the key steps according to
  1. Give up to five back blows. Hold the baby face down along your thigh with their head lower than their bottom. Hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades. If back blows do not dislodge the object, move on to step two.
  2. Give up to five chest thrusts. Turn the baby over so they are facing upwards and place two fingers in the middle of their chest just below the nipples. Push inwards and upwards up to five times. If chest thrusts do not dislodge the object, repeat steps one and two.
  3. Call an ambulance if the object has not dislodged after three cycles of back blows and chest thrusts. (For me, however, calling an ambulance would be part of step 1. I'll have someone call while I give the back blows.  In the Philippines, unfortunately, we are not assured of a speedy response in case of emergencies.)'
Watch the video below that further illustrates the steps.

According to, the top 9 choking foods are hotdogs, carrots, apples, grapes, nuts, peanut butter, marshmallows, gum and hard candy, and popcorn.  I'm adding a number 10: bread, and other starchy food.  To be safe, always chop these up into small, manageable pieces, or better yet, avoid giving these to a very young child, especially the unhealthy ones like candy and gum.

Doing Baby CPR
Still using the British Red Cross as source, this is how you do cardiopulmonary resuscitation on babies.
  1. Check for breathing. Tilt their head back and look and feel for breaths. If they are not breathing, move on to step two.
  2. Tell someone to call an ambulance. But if you are on your own, carry out rescue breaths and chest compressions as described below, for one minute, and then call an ambulance.
  3. Give five rescue breaths. Tilt their head back, seal your mouth over their mouth and nose and blow five times into the baby.
  4. Give 30 chest compressions. Push firmly in the middle of their chest with two fingers so that the chest goes inward, then release.
  5. Give two rescue breaths, then continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until help arrives.

If after step 1, you learn that the baby is breathing normally even if s/he is unconscious, the baby has to be placed in what is called the recovery position.  To do this, cradle him/her in your arms, with the head tilted downwards. This will keep the airway open and will prevent the baby from choking on his/her tongue or from breathing in any vomit.  The image below is from the website of St. John Ambulance, UK.
The Recovery Position
Swallowed Poisons
Since babies almost automatically put random things in their mouth, it's important to know what to do in case they swallow something poisonous. The advice below is from
  1. Try to find out what your baby has swallowed, how much of it and when they swallowed it. Look for clues – like plants or containers near where they have been playing.
  2. Call for emergency help and give them as much information you can.
  3. While you wait, check that your baby is breathing normally, and if they respond to you.
  4. If they do not respond, open their airway, check for breathing, and see if they need CPR.
  5. Don’t try to make them be sick, but if your baby is sick try to collect some of their vomit to give to the healthcare professionals – they may be able to identify the poison with this.
  6. If what they have swallowed is burning their mouth or lips, give them sips of water or milk until help arrives.

Severe Bleeding
When there's a lot of blood flowing from a wound:
  1. Remove any clothes from the area your baby is bleeding from.
  2. If there’s something in the wound, leave it where it is and apply pressure around the wound with a clean non-fluffy cloth, like a clean towel.
  3. If there’s nothing in the wound, apply pressure directly to it with a sterile dressing or clean non-fluffy cloth.
  4. Raise and support the injured area above your baby’s heart if possible and you are still able to maintain the pressure.
  5. Call for emergency help.
  6. Apply a tight bandage around the dressing on top of the wound. It needs to maintain pressure but not restrict circulation.
  7. If the blood soaks through the first dressing, apply a second dressing on top. If it soaks through again remove both dressings and apply a new one.
  8. Keep checking your baby’s breathing, pulse and whether they can respond to you, until medical help arrives.


It's good to know these key how-to's, but it would be ideal if we could actually take formal lessons on first aid so that we can be more confident and precise. If you want to take this knowledge to a higher level, you can check out the following which offer first aid courses:

  • Philippine First Aid:; 0949-4134564
  • Philippine Red Cross:; 790-2366 loc 933/934
  • (It offers free online courses on first aid. I'm gonna go check this out myself!)

Like I said earlier, not one of us would want to have any use for first aid skills, but let's take it to heart.  It just might save a life... it just might save your child's life.


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