Teaching young children basic first aid skills

Teaching young children basic first aid skills could be more important than we think. If they do come across a situation it is best, they have been prepared and will hopefully deal with the situation calmly getting the help they or someone else needs. We teach these skills in a calm and reassuring way through play based learning and during teachable moments. We have had nurses visits and ambulance incursions that further enhance our learning. We can’t protect our children from the world, but we can empower them with the self confidence and skills to deal with situations that may arise. Our very own First Aid Heroes.

Keeping calm and being safe

Perhaps the most important skill you can model for your children is staying calm when they get hurt. Show them how to take a slow deep breath and release it to help ease panic. Make sure children know that their first and most important job is to stay safe themselves.

Teachable moments

Learning through teachable moments is powerful. Any scrape, nosebleed, or fall from the apple tree is a teaching moment, as you verbally describe every step you’re taking. “First I’m applying pressure to stop the bleeding, then I’m gently washing the dirt out of your cut with clean water, then I’m applying this bandage with a little compression.” Spell out your chain of thought: “After you fell off your bike on the pavement, I’m looking to see if any cars are coming before checking to make sure you are still awake and answering me.”

Power of imaginary play to teach skills

Children learn best when they feel relaxed and playful. Engage children with their natural love of playing “doctor” by pretending to be their imaginary patient and telling them your symptoms. Ham it up! Use ketchup for blood, white rags for bandages, socks stuffed inside clothing to indicate swelling. Take your time.

Let them practice playing helper

Switch roles and let them practice being the calm reassuring caregiver. Even though you use play in your teaching, be explicit about what your child is learning. When they have successfully demonstrated several skills, celebrate their achievement and point out that they now know some useful first aid. Remembering this may give them much needed confidence in an emergency; taking a “real” class on the subject can help even more.

Discover your first aid kit together

Go through the first aid kit together, and have some extra bits of gauze, tape, and cotton balls on hand so your child can practice with real tools: smaller kids get a special thrill out of these materials. Make sure your family kit is well organized so a child can find recognizable tools quickly, and have illustrated instruction pamphlets on hand. Sitting down and going over these pictures together in a calm curious state will make them seem like familiar picture books if actually needed.

Know how to get help

Often, the most important thing a child can do in a crisis is call for assistance. You can’t start too early with 000 training. Let kids touch the buttons on the phone to practice and memorize the sequence, but don’t forget to stress how important it is never to use emergency numbers for play or curiosity. Get creative: set the numbers and address to a catchy tune and sing it together often. Talk to your child about other avenues of help, which neighbour’s doors he would knock on first. If all else fails, any passer-by can be flagged down to go get help.

When to call 000

For a child: if there is no adult able to help make the assessment, call. A kid should never hesitate to “bother” the emergency operator if something seems very wrong and they are scared. The emergency operators are specifically trained to deal with young children on the phone. Basic assessment comes hand in hand with calling for help: give them the words to describe potential injuries or illnesses. Teach them to keep themselves safe. Who needs help and why do they think that?

Basic skills of first aid to teach

Start with a few first aid skills, remembering to use “serious play” to engage your child’s relaxed and receptive learning mind. Begin gently with small children, and trust your instincts to know how much they are ready to take in at each developmental stage. These skills can be tremendously empowering for children. Help them learn doing play scenarios and talk to them when you have a real scenario providing calm practical solutions.

  • Putting on a band aid
  • Apply pressure to a bleeding wound
  • Icing a swollen injury
  • Applying cold running water to a burn
  • Pinch nostrils close for 10 minutes for a nosebleed
  • Draping a blanket over a personin shock
  • Gently rolling a person into therecovery position

Complex skills such as CPR and responding to choking incidents will need to wait until your child older.

Do you have any situations in your family that could come up?

Do you have a family member with epilepsy, a heart condition, or another serious chronic illness? If so, focus on those specific assessments, and make sure your child is aware of the conditions and knows how to name them to emergency personnel. Do you live in a sunny dry area where temperatures regularly get high talk about heatstroke?

Nurse Lisa shows us her work uniform

Nurse Lisa from Perth Children’s Hospital came to visit us. She is a real nurse who does work at PCH. She was phenomenal with the children, and they were enthralled by her presentation. The purpose is to teach children that nurses, doctors and paramedics are our friends and can help us in times of need.

Sometimes mums and dads can fix boo boos, sometimes we need to go to the doctors and sometimes we might need to go in an ambulance to a hospital for treatment to make us feel better.

Nurse Lisa told us all about what happens in the hospital and how they make you feel better. She did say that mums and dads can stay with children and we can take in our teddies with us too. She showed us what the uniform looks like and what they look like when they wear their face masks, gowns and face shields, it is still Nurse Lisa under the outfit, the same super hero.

Nurse Lisa shows us what they do for a broken arm

 On Nurse Lisa’s from Perth Children’s Hospital visit she spoke to the children about bones that break. Nurse Lisa pretended to give Teacher Cathy medicine to take away the pain and reinforced we only take medicine from an adult.

She showed us x rays where we saw broken bones. She showed us how to fix a broken arm with a special bandage that you make wet and it sets and then finish it off with a sling to make you feel comfortable. She made us all laugh with her demonstration on the crutches.

We would like to say a big thank you to Nurse Lisa for taking the time to visit us and let us all meet a real life nurse. We really appreciate your efforts. You never know what the future holds, and we would like children to understand that paramedics, ambulance officers and nurses are there to help.

Kids College book drive in December each year for PMH

If you do remember in late November and early December each year we collect new books to donate to PCH. If you would like to bring a book or two to contribute there is a box in our entrance foyer. We are happy to help anyone in need and bring a smile to their faces, passing along our love for reading.

Take a first aid course yourself

Take a first aid course yourself to ensure you are teaching up-to-date recommended protocol and are confident in your knowledge.

First Aid qualifications at Kids College

Provide Frist Aid in an education and care setting. This Child Care First Aid Course is suitable for educators, support staff, long day care, family day care and outside of school hours (OOSH) workers who are required to respond to First Aid and CPR emergencies, and has been approved by Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) who consider it to satisfies the requirements under the Education and Care Service National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations (2011) for Asthma first aid, Anaphylaxis and using and EpiPen in emergencies.

Even though the childcare regulations state only one person needs Frist Aid we choose to ensure all of our staffing team have this training and can recommend this course for any families too.

Advanced First Aid training

Jennifer and Craig have furthered their first aid skills and attained Advanced First Aid. This course extends on Provide First Aid to include additional skills and uses a range of equipment to provide advanced first aid response, life support and management of a casualty until the arrival of medical assistance including advanced scenario training. Craig and Jennifer have also attended training to become qualified Resuscitation trainers.

More info

For more info you can look up the following related article


Kids College Philosophy quote

‘Our educators respond to children’s ideas and play and extend on children’s learning so that each child’s agency is promoted enabling them to make choices and decisions that influence events and their world as strong capable competent learners.’

‘We have stringent hygiene, health, nutrition, maintenance, safety and protection standards. We take our duty of care very seriously and will safeguard the safety and wellbeing of our children at all times as a matter of utmost priority.’

National Quality Standards

1.1.2 Child-centred. Each child’s current knowledge, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of the program

1.2.1 Intentional Teaching. Educators are deliberate, purposeful, and thoughtful in their decisions and actions.

2.2.1 Supervision. At all times, reasonable precautions and adequate supervision ensure children are protected from harm and hazard.

2.2.2 Incident and emergency management. plans to effectively manage incidents and emergencies are developed in consultation with relevant authorities, practiced and implemented.

4.2.2 Professional standards. Professional standards guide practice, interactions and relationships.

6.2.3 Community engagement. The service builds relationships and engages with its community.

Kids College family

At Kids College we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input. Please let us know if you have any comments, queries or recommendations.

Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Join our Kids College family community and share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us on Jennifer@kidscollege.com.au

With love, laughter and learning from your friends in the
‘village it takes to raise a child’
Teacher Jen and the Kids College Childcare family