Man putting plaster on child

Boots guide to basic first aid

Essential advice

Bumps, scrapes and scratches are all part of growing up. So if you know some simple techniques, you'll be prepared to treat minor injuries quickly and confidently.


If your child has suffered a burn, you need to act quickly and calmly. Cool and clean the burned or scalded area by immediately running it under cool or lukewarm running water, for at least 15 minutes. Any tight clothing or jewellery should be removed to avoid restriction of burnt skin.

Leave anything that has already become stuck to skin and avoid placing any ice, fats, ointments or creams to the burn. Don't use plasters or adhesive (sticky) dressings. Your child should be taken to hospital immediately unless the burn is minor.

Child washing hands


Cuts will happen as little ones explore and bump into things. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly and clean the wound under cold running tap water, but do not use antiseptic as it may damage the tissue and slow down healing.

Pat the area dry with a clean towel and apply pressure to the wound until it stops bleeding, then apply a sterile adhesive dressing such as a plaster. If the cut is deep or serious then seek immediate medical advice.

Parent putting plaster of child's knee


Treat bruises with firm pressure applied to a cold compress, wet flannel or even a bag of frozen peas. If you're using something cold from the freezer, wrap it in a towel so there's no direct contact with the skin.

Child with cloth over wrist


If your child's been stung, wash the affected area with soap and water, then place a cold flannel on the sting to try and ease the pain. To help prevent swelling, raise the affected area. Don't scratch the sting as this may lead to infection. If any redness or itching does not clear up after a few days then take your child to the GP.

Close up of wasp on flower

Choking: under one year old

If your choking infant is under one, position them face-down with their head lower than their body. While supporting the head, jaw and neck, give five back blows using the heel of your hand between their shoulders.

Position your child on his or her back while supporting their head and neck, and give five chest thrusts, placing two fingers over the lower half of the breastbone. Repeat the chest thrusts and back blows until the object pops out and your child is breathing again.

Call 999: If your child does not respond call an ambulance immediately.

Woman demonstrating with model of baby

Choking: over one year old

If your infant is over the age of one and is choking, cannot breathe, talk or cough, stand behind him or her and give up to five slaps to the back between the shoulder blades. If this fails to move the object, stand or kneel behind the child and use abdominal thrusts.

Place the flat thumb side of your fist between the child's navel and breastbone, keeping well off the breastbone itself. Position your other hand around your fist and press upwards towards the stomach. Repeat this until the object pops out and the child can breathe again.

Call 999: If your child does not respond, lower them to the floor and call for an ambulance. The emergency operator will guide you through CPR.

Call 999: If your child does not respond or becomes unconscious at any stage call an ambulance immediately. The emergency operator will guide you through CPR.

Child frowning with hand at throat

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