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What is a Paediatric First Aid Course?

First aid is an essential skill that everyone should know but a surprisingly small amount of people actually do. According to the British Heart Foundation, 70% of the UK population does not have the confidence or knowledge to act if someone collapsed and was unresponsive but able to breathe.

All in all, only 5% of the population would be able to handle common first aid problems such as a person bleeding heavily or being unresponsive. Similarly, 80% of respondents to the study said they wouldn’t know what to do if a baby was choking.

This is despite first aid courses being readily available, and basic training even being free in some cases. First aid is needed in the workplace, in schools, and the home. For parents, keeping their child safe is a priority of course, and paediatric first aid knowledge can be an essential tool to have.

What is paediatrics and how does it combine with first aid?

Paediatrics refers to medical care that is specifically aimed at babies, toddlers, children, and adolescents. This means anyone under the age of 18 although paediatricians may carry on treating a patient at 18 if they feel it is in their best interests.

Paediatricians provide medical health care for children that are ill, and also preventative care for healthy children. They help with not only physical health but mental and emotional well-being also.

 First aid courses that are aimed at adults are different from paediatric ones. A paediatric first aid course can provide the skills needed to help a baby or a child. Whereas a regular first aid course will not. Some paediatric first aid courses however will include skills that can be used on adults such as helping someone choking or who is unresponsive.

Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Framework lays out guidelines for schools and care providers for caring for and teaching children from birth to 5 years old. Paediatric first aid courses meet the specifications laid out in that particular framework. Places that have children attending such as schools should have paediatric first aiders on-site.

Why should you consider doing a paediatric first aid course?

If you are employed in any facility where babies, children, or adolescents are involved then knowledge of paediatric first aid could not only be useful, it could be life-saving. The purpose of first aid is to provide prompt care until an ambulance arrives on the scene. First aiders can aid in various scenarios including heart attacks, accidents, choking, and seizures. They are trained to stem bleeding, perform CPR, and make a patient comfortable until medical assistance arrives.

Paediatric first aid courses are designed for the same purpose but are specifically catered to treating children. Being qualified in paediatric first aid could be useful for caregivers, teachers, preschool assistants, and of course, parents.

The majority of accidents in the home happen in the living or dining areas. But, the more serious accidents that children suffer are either on the stairs or in the kitchen. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reports that 67,000 children have accidents in the kitchen each year. The majority of these children are 4 years old or under.

Every year another 58,000 children have accidents on stairs. A parent who has an understanding of paediatric first aid means that if a child has an accident they can be treated quickly.

What will a paediatric first aid course involve?

There is more than one paediatric first aid course, and they are often tailored for specific purposes. While all paediatric first aid courses are put in place to provide care for children, some may go more in-depth in certain areas than others.

A paediatric first aid course should provide some theory as well as practical knowledge. They will talk about first aid kits, and how to approach an accident for instance. After completing the course, the first aider should be more confident that they can handle an incident and provide appropriate treatment that may possibly save a life.

Typical paediatric first aid courses may involve the following:

  • Standard paediatric first aid
  • Blended online paediatric first aid
  • Emergency paediatric first aid
  • Combined paediatric and first aid at work
  • Emergency first aid in schools
  • Basic life support 

Paediatric first aid can cover illness, life support, and accidents, and will cover a wide range of health concerns from minor ailments to serious life-threatening conditions.

Courses may be approved by OFSTED, and also CPD certified. They are offered on-site or off-site, and online, to provide every opportunity for businesses, individuals, and parents to learn.

What areas will a paediatric first aid course cover?

A number of minor and major conditions and accidents can be covered in any paediatric first aid course. These include the following and more.

  • Allergic reactions
  • Choking
  • Eye injuries
  • Asthma
  • Seizures
  • Shock
  • Bleeding
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Burns
  • Muscular injuries
  • Broken bones

The courses will involve the following areas.

How to handle an incident

If you join a paediatric first aid course, you will learn the 4Cs. These are check, call, care, and complete. First, you check the scene and make sure it is safe and if the patient is responsive, call the emergency services, provide first aid care, and handover to the medics on arrival.

How to handle injuries and illness

The list above features just some of the things that you may experience as a parent or first aider. Insect bites are common but may need treatment, and some children will suffer allergic reactions. Then there are more serious concerns that you may have to administer first aid to such as breaks, burns, or nasty cuts.

Armed with paediatric first aid knowledge you will be confident enough to cope with serious scenarios such as epilepsy or asthma attacks, or those that require CPR. Being trained means that you can provide immediate care before the emergency services attend.

Theoretical training

You will have plenty of hands-on training involving CPR, bandaging, treating burns, and when and how to use the recovery position. You will also be taught how to make a paediatric first aid kit.

How can you join a paediatric first aid course?

Finding an EYFS-compliant first aid course is simple enough. Simply go to Google and search for paediatric first aid courses near your location. Alternatively, ask any colleague or friend that has attended a course for their details, or approach your employer.

The Red Cross and the St. John Ambulance both provide paediatric first aid courses, as do private companies specialising in this area.

Employers have obligations under health and safety regulations and are normally happy to provide and pay for first aid training. If you are working in an area where paediatric first aid is vital then ask your employer. 

As should be clear now, first aid is a vital skill parents should learn and nothing is stopping an individual from signing up for a course. Approach your local St John or Red Cross and ask about paediatric first aid training, or search online for a company in your area providing suitable courses. 

The knowledge you gain will help you to provide a safer environment in your home for your children, and learn how to make a first aid kit and what should be in it.

How to make your children’s environment safer

Children have accidents, this is no secret, and no child will reach adulthood without suffering bruises, tumbles, cuts, or some other injury. You cannot wrap them in cotton wool but you can lessen the chances of accidents

Over 45,000 children are admitted to hospitals each year in Britain. And this is just the under-5-year-olds. 75% of these accidents happened in the home and many could have been averted.

Securing stairs and windows, stashing away plastic bags, covering sharp corners and edges, and ensuring furniture and other objects such as TVs cannot topple over will make the home safer. Still, accidents will happen, but there is one way to make sure they get treated properly and quickly, and that is to have a fully-stocked paediatric first aid kit in the home.

What should be included in a paediatric first aid kit?

It isn’t enough to have a first aid kit in the home, you need to make sure that creams and medicines are in-date and dispose of any that have expired. You must also replace anything that gets used such as plasters or gauze. Below is perhaps not the ultimate first aid checklist, but is at least the essentials you should have on hand.

  • A leaflet on first aid and CPR
  • Antihistamine cream
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Sterile cleansing wipes - alcohol-free
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Disposable gloves
  • Sterile dressing - large and medium unmedicated
  • Eyewash
  • Sterile eye pads
  • Microporous tape
  • Sterile gauze swabs
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Tubular gauze bandage
  • Tubular bandage applicator
  • Safety pins
  • Non-adhesive absorbent dressing
  • Triangular bandage - non-woven
  • Thermometer
  • Washproof sterile plasters - assorted sizes

This is by no means exhaustive but it will provide almost anything you need if your child has a minor accident at home. Medication can be stored away from the first aid kit but somewhere safe that children cannot reach. 


Everyone should have some form of first aid knowledge but for those who are parents or work with children, paediatric first aid is even more vital. If you are employed in child care, in play school, or are teaching, you can approach your employer about receiving paediatric first aid training.

As a parent, you have a wide choice of where to get a paediatric first aid course. You can use a private training company, or you can look for your local St John Ambulance or Red Cross.