The must-know first aid tips for grandparents 8



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With Christmas holidays just around the corner, grandparents around the country are preparing to babysit their grandchildren.

Kids of any age can hurt themselves, with there always being a possibility something could go wrong.

As it might have been a few years since you brushed up on your first aid skills, here’s what you need to know in 2015 to cope with any situation. Keep it handy and don’t forget to share!

Cuts or scrapes

What to do:

  • If your grandchild is bleeding, first press firmly over the cut with a clean cloth until it stops – a normal time for bleeding is around three – 10 minutes.
  • Clean the wound under lukewarm running water and gently pat dry.
  • When a wound is dirty, rinse it with water and gently clean with soap.
  • Apply a thin layer of an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment, then cover with a bandaid.
  • If you can’t control the bleeding, call 000 or head to the emergency.
  • After the wound stops bleeding and is covered up, make sure your grandchild doesn’t pick at it, and you change the bandage regularly.


What to do:

  • Contrary to what we may have learnt in the past, the best thing to do for a burn is to hold it immediately under cool running water for 20 minutes. Cooling the burn wound is a very effective way of decreasing pain, and can minimise the damage caused.
  • Once run under cool water, assess and if it is a large burn, call 000, otherwise cover any small blisters with a loose bandage.
  • Call a doctor as soon as possible if burns are on the face, hands, or genitals, or if they’re larger than 2cm anywhere on the body. If the burn looks deep, go straight to the hospital.


What to do:

  • Have your grandchild sit upright, but don’t tilt them head back – this is important.
  • Pinch the lower end of their nose, close to the nostrils and have them lean forward while you apply pressure continuously for five to ten minutes. Don’t release.
  • If the nosebleed is the result of a trauma, reduce the swelling by holding an ice pack against the bridge of the nose after the bleeding slows down.
  • If it persists after 10 minutes or returns later, go to the hospital.

Splinter, glass or other foreign object in skin

What to do:

  • Use soap and water to wash around the splinter.
  • Use a clean, disinfected pair of tweezers to slowly pull the splinter out, then wash the area. If the splinter is hard to remove, leave it for a day or so to see whether it comes out on its own.
  • If your grandchild steps on more than one piece of glass and it can’t be removed, gently wrap a clean cloth around the area and go to the hospital. Make sure you get an x-ray.
  • If the wound is caused by stepping on a dirty or rusty object, your grandchild could be at risk of tetanus. Make sure you have a list of immunisations and they are up to date.

Eye injury

What to do:

  • When your child has severe pain, has red eyes, light sensitivity, or blurry vision after being poked or hit in the eye, hold a cool, wet cloth over the area and head to the hospital.
  • If a chemical has been splashed in the eye, hold the lid open and flush with lukewarm water and call the Poisons Hotline on 13 11 26.

Insect bite or sting

What to do:

  • If the insect left a stinger, gently scrape the skin with a clean, blunt butter knife to remove it without breaking it. Call 000 if your grandchild has trouble breathing, is coughing, or develops a hoarse voice, hives, or swollen lips or tongue.
  • If stung by a jellyfish, pour vinegar over the sting and rinse with cold water. Call 000 if on face, neck or genitals.
  • For itching, hold a cold compress over the area for a minute, or apply calamine lotion.


What to do:

Call 000 if your grandchild has taken poison and:

  • Is not breathing properly or having trouble breathing
  • Is unconscious
  • Has collapsed
  • Is having seizures
  • Poison has splashed on his face or eyes
  • Is acting differently
  • You have any concerns

Call the Poison Hotline on 13 11 26 if you think your grandchild has consumed poison and is alert or:

  • Swallowed too much medicine or the wrong kind
  • Has pieces of pills on clothes or lips
  • Has a strange smell
  • Is vomiting
  • Is drooling a lot
  • Is alert but acting differently
  • Is confused
  • Has no energy


What to do:

A baby or child who is choking will be unable to cry, cough, make any other noise or breathe. You need to start first aid straight away. 

For a baby

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 up to five times.

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 000 if the object has not dislodged after three cycles of back blows and chest thrusts.


For a child

1. Give up to five back blows

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 abdominal thrusts

Hold the child around the waist and pull upwards and inwards above their belly button.

If abdominal thrusts do not dislodge the object, repeat steps one and two.

3. Call 000 if the object has not dislodged after three cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts.

Watch these videos for more information:

Tell us, have you ever needed to give first aid to a child?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Not sure where this info comes from but it’s certainly not currently being trained. For current info go to the ARC website.

  2. And kiss it better with a bandaid. And my 3yr old granddaughter thinks that grandma’s tube of pawpaw is the best cure-all. .

  3. paw paw ointment containts only 2% paw paw the otjher 98% is petrolium jelly according to Choice! better to buy vaseline.Better still Hydro gel.

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