What is a baby first aid kit?
A baby first aid kit is a collection of items for small injuries and mild illnesses suitable for babies and young children. Most kits contain items to use for cuts, burns, and scrapes as well as medications for pain and allergies. A kit with plenty of well-chosen items in easy adult reach means that things are far less stressful if your baby does need help.
Why do I need a baby first aid kit?
You may already have a kit for the family, but it is important to make sure it’s kept together, is well stocked and contains the suggested items below when you have a baby. If your little one is injured or sick, you will need to act fast and having everything in one place is ideal.
What supplies go in a baby first aid kit?
We spoke to Kate Ball FAIB, a paediatric first aid trainer and the founder of Mini First Aid, whose award-winning baby first aid kit was featured on Dragon’s Den.
Kate says: “A good first aid kit for babies should contain plasters, bandages, wipes, burn gel, safety pins, micropore tape, dressing pads, tweezers and a really good pair of first aid scissors for when you need to remove clothing or even a seatbelt in an emergency. You may want to add medication specific for your baby, antiseptic cream, cling film for burns and liquid paracetamol sachets.”
Other helpful items include:
A digital thermometer to check your baby’s temperature
Cold packs for bumps
Antihistamine cream for bites and stings
Arnica cream for bruises
An eye bath and eye wash or sterile saline solution
Distilled water to clean wounds
Sachets of rehydrating solution suitable to your child’s age for diarrhoea
A first aid manual or app on your phone
A box or bag to hold all your first aid gear
Baby wipes for any messes or spills
Top tip: Keep a list of contents in the kit, so you can replace them as they get used.
Should I keep medicines in my baby first aid kit?
A few items are useful, such as burn and antihistamine cream, liquid paracetamol sachets, plus regular medicines your child needs. Keep medications and tablets, even vitamins, in a high, preferably locked cabinet out of the reach of children. Every six months do a quick check of expiry dates as some medicines do go out of date quickly.
Can I buy a baby first aid kit, or do I have to make one up?
You can buy a baby first aid kit in pharmacies and supermarkets and there are many specifically for babies and children. You may want to add more items, so make sure there’s plenty of room in the bag.
Ken Fraser, first aid clinical manager at the British Red Cross says: “Most first aid kits sold on the high street are suitable to be used with adults and children alike, with the most common contents being alcohol-free wound cleaning wipes, adhesive plasters, bandages, tape and sterile eyewash. For babies and young children, some useful additions could include hypoallergenic plasters, a small cold pack, forehead thermometer and some stickers to reward them for being brave.”
Where should I keep my baby first aid kit?A bathroom cabinet or a kitchen cupboard is ideal if it is out of the reach of children – somewhere high up with a lockable door. Do this as part of baby-proofing your home to keep it safely away from cruising babies and walking toddlers who are always keen to explore. Make sure all your care givers know where it is, including babysitters. You might want a smaller kit to keep in your car.
What can I treat at home and what should I NOT treat?
There are a number of things you can treat at home, but also some you should leave to the professionals.
Kate says: “Minor burns, cuts, bumps and bruises can all be treated at home if you have learnt basic first aid. Any medical procedures always need to be carried out by a medical practitioner.”
Ken adds; “The purpose of first aid is to provide initial treatment in an emergency until you can get more help. To feel more confident about delivering lifesaving first aid, visit the British Red Cross website or download their free baby and child first aid app. If you are unsure, always seek medical advice by calling 111, visiting NHS 111 online or speaking to your GP or calling 999 in an emergency. Remember, there is always something you can do whether it is offering reassurance or calling for help.”
When should I seek medical help?
Babies can become unwell very quickly and as you know your baby best, it’s always important to seek medical help if you feel that something is wrong.
Kate says: “It is perfectly OK to seek advice from a medical practitioner if you have any concerns at all about your baby. And you should always seek medical help if your baby is not breathing, not responding (unconscious) or the injury is not treatable with basic first aid.”
For more help, the NHS website includes a checklist of warning signs that might indicate your baby or toddler needs immediate medical attention. The list covers temperature, breathing and other signs such as rashes, seizures, and dehydration.
If you suspect meningitis, you should take your child to hospital or call 999. The signs and symptoms can also be found on the NHS website.
Should I take a first aid course?
Although you should only be treating cuts and scrapes, is it worth taking a first aid course?
“Absolutely!” says Kate. “Everyone should learn first aid before they need it. Learning to save a little life is the most important thing you can ever learn. I would always recommend you take a specific paediatric first aid class, as there are differences in the first aid treatment for babies and children.”
Where can parents find out more about first aid for babies?
Ken says: “Each first aid emergency is different but knowing the basic skills will help you feel more confident in any situation. This could mean avoiding a trip to the hospital or even saving someone’s life. British Red Cross’s baby and child first aid app has all the information about how to handle different situations. It only takes a minute to learn, so while you are waiting for the kettle to boil, you could be learning a lifesaving skill.”
The British Red Cross has lots of free resources for learning first aid which you can find out more about by visiting redcross.org.uk/first-aid.