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Baby first aid essentials

Feel better prepared to deal with minor emergencies in the home by using our first aid kit checklist and learning some baby first aid skills.

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What should my first aid kit contain?

Even if you’ve taken every precaution to create a safe environment for your baby, some accidents and illnesses are unavoidable with a little one – so it’s important to keep a stock of basic medical supplies to hand.

These key items should help you respond to common injuries and ailments. But do remember, if there’s any sign of a more serious problem or you’re not sure of the cause, it’s always best to contact a medical professional for advice.

  • Digital thermometer – this helps you quickly check your baby’s temperature.
  • Child and infant liquid pain reliever – this should contain paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  • Oral (no-needle) syringe or measuring spoon – to administer medicine.
  • Waterproof plasters in various sizes and shapes – to protect small wounds and help them heal.
  • Sterile dressing – covers and protects wounds to help healing.
  • Antiseptic cream and wipes – use these to clean cuts and grazes, and help prevent infection.
  • Roller bandage – to hold dressings in place on a wound. It’s a good idea to have various sizes.
  • Sterile gauze swabs – these can be used to clean wounds, and to apply ointments.
  • Tweezers – to remove splinters and thorns.
  • Scissors – to cut plasters and dressings to size.
  • Safety pins/ hypoallergenic tape – to secure dressings.
  • Insect repellent – especially useful in summer.
  • Finger bandages – these protect and support injured fingers, and can also hold dressings in place.
  • Sterile gloves – wear these when dealing with any cuts or grazes.
  • Mild liquid soap – clean your hands before and after dealing with cuts and grazes.
  • Calamine cream – this can help relieve minor sunburn and rashes.
  • Sting reliever spray – relieves discomfort and itching of bites and stings.
  • Eyewash solution – washes bits of dirt out of eyes.

Add any medication or equipment which is essential to your own child’s needs. And make sure you know how to use each item, so you’re not reading instructions in an emergency situation.

Download our baby first aid kit checklist to check that you have everything you need.

Six first aid kit tips

  1. If you buy a pre-assembled first aid kit, double-check it has everything you need. Top it up if it doesn’t.
  2. Remember to replace items as they start to run out or pass their use-by date.
  3. Keep your first aid kit in a waterproof container that’s large enough for the items to be arranged so they can be found quickly. A plastic container with a closely fitting lid would be suitable.
  4. Label items so that they’re easily recognisable – this will come in handy if you need to act quickly.
  5. Keep the kit out of children’s reach.
  6. Make sure that any other adults who may look after your baby at home know where to find the kit.

Baby first aid courses

You can attend a baby first aid course specifically designed for new parents and carers to learn how to recognise and react in emergency situations. Of course, you hope they’re skills you’ll never have to use, but it can help to give you peace of mind.

Sessions are run by various different organisations – including the NCT and British Red Cross – and often last 3-5 hours.

What will I learn on the course? 

First aid classes offer practical, hands-on training in a group setting, led by a trained professional. Most courses offer the use of a baby doll to practise manoeuvres on, which can be really helpful before your baby is born.

Among other things, you can expect to learn what to do if your baby:

  • Starts choking
  • Becomes unresponsive
  • Has a fever
  • Gets a burn
  • Has a raised temperature.

There is often plenty of time for questions, so if you have any specific worries or concerns, it’s worth noting them down to ask on the day.

When can I do a baby first aid course? 

You can attend a baby first aid class at any point before or after your baby is born. You can either go on your own or with a partner.

In most cases you can bring your small baby with you. If in doubt, ask the course provider if babies are welcome.

Even if you’ve already done a regular first aid course in the past, it can be worth attending one when you’re having a baby. There are some cases where newborn first aid is quite different from the adult version, for example when performing CPR or helping a choking infant.

How much are first aid courses? 

The price of the first aid course depends on both the organisation and where you live.

British Red Cross training tends to be a little more expensive than others; you can expect to pay between £45 and £60.

The NCT Baby First Aid course (run in partnership with British Red Cross) costs £20 in Leeds, but it’s £35 to attend the one in St Albans.

The St John’s Ambulance Essential First Aid course costs £30 for three hours anywhere in the UK.

Are there alternatives to a first aid course? 

If time or money are preventing you from attending a session in person, there are free online videos and apps you can use to learn some of the basics:

Learning basic first aid can help you to recognise and respond to minor emergencies. However, it’s just as important to know when further medical attention is needed and where to go to get the necessary help.

In any situation where there is a medical emergency, call 999.

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