First Aid Tips For First Time Parents

First aid tips, must know for all new parents. Learning basic first aid for common ailments is very helpful. Sometimes a simple problem can turn fatal if first aid is not provided on time.

First Aid Tips For First Time Parents

Recently learnt from a couple of my friends that their kids had got seizures due to high fever, since they were not aware of the first aid and basic first aid was not provided on time. Obviously, it is not common for a first time parent to know all the first aid procedures. Living in nuclear families without much elderly help and advice, and have been bought up as single or just two children, our generation doesn’t have a chance to have experienced these. Talking to your doctor and referring to books are the only source of information.

Refer to good baby books for first aid tips, but always have a word with your doctor to learn which will suit your child. We need to understand that every child is unique and the methods/procedures may not suit all. Discuss with your doctor about the common ailments and their first aid, do not wait for an emergency to find them out.

I would like to discuss on few of the common problems and some tips to deal with them. (These are not substitute for doctor’s guidance. Discuss with your doctor in detail.)

* Fever – A most common ailment which is most of the time not a cause of concern. A red flag needs to be raised when the fever is persistent and is running above 102 or in an infant below 2-3 months old. Do not cover them with clothes. Give the child a warm towel bath, squeeze out the water and repeat the process once the towel gets cold. If the fever doesn’t come down with crocin/tylenol alternate it with ibuprofen for children 2 years and older. Having seizures and turning blue can be serious seek medical attention immediately. Fever for infants below 2-3 months also do need medical attention immediately.

* Choking – Choking due to swallowing can be dangerous. It might block the airway and cause breathlessness. Do not try to put your fingers and pull out the object if it is not visible or reachable, sometimes it might push the object further inside. Best way is to tilt the child downwards and give a back blow on the back for 4-5 times. Not to be tried on infants. If the child turns blue or goes unconscious, seek medical attention immediately.

* Bruising and Bleeding – Even minor falls can tear their tender skin. My daughter often falls down and tears her lips. Atleast 3-4 times she has fallen down and torn her lips and had severe bleeding. First time my tears rolled out more than her blood drops. I was so worried that she might need sutures. Fortunately she got better with an ointment. But the lesson learnt was, first hold the bleeding spot tight until it stops bleeding and never forget to fill your ice cube tray. Ensure that your hands and the ice cubes (water used) are clean. This first aid is for simple bruise and bleeding. Deeper cuts need prompt medical attention to avoid infections.

* Burns – Though we try to be extra careful with any hot items at home. Rarely accidents might happen. For any first degree burns (mild burns on the skin) apply ice cold water and then apply an antibiotic ointment. Do not touch or try to pop a blister. For second degree burns (deeper burns) seek medical attention promptly.

* Fall – Fall from heights with a bump on the head needs observation. If the child goes unconscious or vomits or bleeds from his nose or ears, they need immediate medical attention. There might be other kinds of fall which might need sutures.

* Apnea/Breathlessness/Wheezing – When my son was 45 days old, he had bad cold and wheezing. I had tried to clean his nose with a nasal bulb to help him breathe, he cried so much and held his breath for few seconds which stopped my breath. I went blank and couldn’t react. Thankfully my mother was there and she just gave him a simple pat on his back and he started breathing again. A big lesson learnt, even a simple issue can turn serious if the necessary first aid is not provided on time. Getting tensed and not reacting on time can be dangerous. If the child is known to have wheezing/asthma, always have your nebulizer and Albuterol refilled. Have your saline drops handy to clear the nasal congestion and help them sleep better.

* Vomiting and Diarrhea – We had to run around the city to find medical shop to get Pedialyte (Oral rehydration) for my daughter. Very common issue, but need to ensure that the child doesn’t dehydrate before seeking medical attention. It can be due to any reason, the child might vomit or have diarrhea. If the problem persists or they vomit bile or have blood in stools, they need immediate medical attention.

* Colic – A condition in which the infant cries for no known reason everyday for a couple of hours. My son has been colic from 2 months to 6-7 months. It is very hard to handle and definitely tiring for the parents and very upsetting to see the child cry every day. Mostly it is due to gas or reflux. Gas drops or colicaid would help this. Consult your doctor and talk about any other issues that might be troubling your little one.

There are other issues like food poisoning, poisoning, allergies, rashes, over dosage of medicine which might need medical attention and knowledge of first aid. There might be many other simple issues that can be treated or prevented which I might have missed. The first aid might also differ according to the child’s age and health condition.

Keep your first aid kit and emergency medicines ready. You would need the following items handy:

* Rectal Thermometer

* Band Aid and Dressing gauze

* Paracetamol/Acetaminophen (Crocin/Tylenol)

* Ibuprofen

* Antiseptic Ointment

* Antibiotic Ointment

* Vaseline

* Cough Syrup

* Saline Nasal Drops

* Measuring spoons/cups

* Pedialyte

* Nebulizer and Albuterol (for kids with wheezing)

* Vicks

* Ice cubes tray filled in freezer

* Have your doctor contact number, emergency contact numbers

* Prescription medications and any other stuff based on child’s need

First of all during an emergency situation do not panic. Call out for help in case if you are alone with the child and feel tensed and not confident of handling things alone. Talk to your doctor and discuss regarding first aid in detail. Wish you happy and safe parenting.

Archana Selvam – a busy mom of a super active Kindergartener and a cute naughty toddler. After eight active years of software programming, has taken a break from the IT industry and has chosen to program her family. She has used this time and space to explore motherhood and cooking. She blogs @

  • Dr Chander Asrani

    A word of caution: The tips are for first aid ONLY. Several parents have suffered by stretching them in the realm of ‘self medication’ especially when it comes to fever & cough colds.
    Secondly, most books are not Indian and have legal nod to mention names of medicines which are OTC in their country but schedules drugs in India (Ibuprofen).
    In a child, who is prone to hypersensitive airway disease, ibuprofen can trigger an attack.
    There has been a big campaign by FDA (USA) against giving OTC cough syrups to children, especially in children below 2 yr. (
    If a child gets a convulsion:
    – In most cases, it will stop on it’s own
    – do not smother the child by hugging and crying
    – put the child on bed, turned sideways and head tilted back. Open the mouth and gently pull out the tongue.
    A child lying on the back can choke to death with the tongue falling back.
    Sponging the child, even with outside temperature 10 degrees could prevent a febrile seizure.
    The episode mentioned under Apnoea, wheeze is actually Breath holding spasm and not a medical condition. Any child who cries for long (without taking a breath in will suffer from one)

  • Risha Agarwal

    Thanks for all this very helpful information! One of the most dangerous but easily avoidable issue is dehydration in babies. Diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration; you can identify dehydration in your child if he has sunken eyes, dark circles, and loss of elastic skin. Lately, there has been a lot of discussion of probiotics as an added supplement to your child’s diet. I’ve tried Econorm, a probiotic for children that is available without prescription. Probiotics are said to not only relieve diarrhea but also protect against future episodes and help your child gain and maintain weight! An easy, affordable and preventative measure for diarrhea

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