Let’s face it, being a new parent is stressful enough and in those first few days, weeks, months, you’re number one goal is keeping your new baby alive.
When you’re out of the safety of the hospital walls, medical emergencies can happen and may seem extremely daunting, so knowing some basic first aid skills may help you feel more prepared if an incident should arise.
Here are five top tips, by first aid training specialists Tigerlily, for essential baby first aid.
1. DON’T PANIC.
Easier said than done of course, but try your best to remain calm and focused. Take a deep breath and then fully assess the situation in front of you.
2. FOLLOW D.R. A.B.C.
When assessing the situation, follow these steps:
DANGER – Ensure that you and your baby are safe from any danger.
RESPONSE – Is your baby responsive? Do they respond to your touch or voice? If not, shout for help, ask someone to call 999 or 112.
AIRWAY – If your baby is unresponsive, tilt their back head slightly, to allow oxygen into the lungs.
BREATHING – Look, listen and feel for normal breathing. If you discover your baby is not breathing normally, you will need to start CPR immediately (see tip 3 below). If your baby is breathing normally, good – this is a positive outcome and you can now move on to next stage.
CIRCULATION – Once you’ve established your baby is breathing normally, check for any signs of bleeding. If there is bleeding stem the flow to preserve circulation. If your baby’s circulation is good, ensure their airway remains open and hold the baby in your arms, facing you, with their head supported and tilted slightly downwards. This is the Recovery Position for babies. Continue to monitor their airway until help arrives.
3. SIMPLE CPR. CPR will be needed if your baby is not breathing normally. It can seem pretty scary thing to do to your child, but doing something is way better than doing nothing. If you can, you should also have the ambulance crew on the phone, talking you through each step as you go and they will also stay on the line until they arrive.
Start by giving 5 RESCUE BREATHES – to perform rescue breaths, ensure the baby’s airway is open and seal your mouth over the baby’s mouth and nose. Steadily blow the amount of breath you can hold in your cheeks into the baby’s mouth for about 1 second, just enough to see the chest rise. Repeat this 5 times.
Having breathed oxygen into the baby’s lungs, you now need to circulate that around the body and to the all-important brain. You do this by performing CHEST COMPRESSIONS (this is the part many parents are afraid of, but don’t be). Using the index and middle fingers together, press them into the centre of baby’s chest / sternum to a depth of at least a third
Do this 30 times at a rate of around two per second. Don’t worry about the numbers here, just remember to push at a nice regular rhythm and deep enough to squeeze the heart.
Then start a cycle of 2 rescue breaths to 30 compressions.
4. ASSIST WHEN CHOKING.
If your baby is choking, you’ll need to act quickly and assertively. And follow these simple steps:
- Shout for help immediately and ask the helper to call 999/112.
- Sitting or kneeling, lay your baby face down over your arm which should be resting on your thigh and ensure your baby’s airway is open.
- Using the palm of your hand, give up to 5 firm back blows between the shoulder blades. Between blows check in their mouth to see if you have cleared the obstruction. Stop if you have.
If that is unsuccessful, will need to perform CHEST THRUSTS:
- Remain seated or kneeling and turn baby over so they are face up and lying along your arm with the support of your thigh as before.
- Keeping their airway open and their head supported slightly lower than their chest for gravity to assist, use two fingers on the chest and give up to 5 firm chest thrusts in the same way as CPR but sharper and slower.
Check between thrusts and stop if the obstruction is cleared. Seek urgent medical assistance to ensure baby is recovering fully. If the obstruction is still not cleared keep repeating as above.
If the baby becomes unresponsive, start CPR as before. Always get the baby checked by a medical professional, even if your treatment is successful.
5. DOs & DON’Ts OF FEBRILE SEIZURES.
Febrile Seizures are quite common and occur when a baby’s temperature exceeds 38C – usually due to an infection. Seeing your baby have a seizure can be frightening but they are usually harmless and over quite quickly.
- Stay calm and confident.
- Take note of the time.
- Protect your baby from injury using soft items or your hands.
- Remove warm clothing and bed covers.
- Cool the room.
- After the seizure, check the baby’s airway for normal breathing and place in recovery.
- If this is your baby’s first seizure, it lasts over 5 minutes or breathing problems persist, call 999/112.
- Over cool the baby or use a fan or wet sponge.
- Leave the baby at any time.
- Medicate the baby without professional advice.
- Mix Ibuprofen & Paracetamol without the go-ahead from a medical professional.
We appreciate this can sound terrifying and overwhelming, but remember, there is is plenty of support out there and NHS 111 is a fantastic source of information and guidance.
The information above is taken from first aid training specialists Tigerlily, and complies with all currently accepted first-aid practice.