1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

12 First Aid Skills Every Parent Needs to Know

If Only Kids Came with a First Aid Instruction Manual


Updated May 15, 2014

There are books on child development and books on what to expect when you're going to have a baby or when that baby heads to college. But, what parents really need is a manual on the most important first aid skills every parent needs to know.

These are those skills.

Whether your children are 20 days, 20 months or 20 years old, these first aid skills are a must for you to know. Besides these first aid skills, you should also know how to make an emergency escape plan and how to teach your kids to call 911 and stop, drop and roll.

1. When to Call 911

When to call 911
(c) Rod Brouhard
Let's start with the serious stuff. When your kids need help now, you need to know it. Look at the list, print it out and paste it on the first aid kit and on the phone.

2. How to Do CPR

(c) Stockbyte/Getty Images
You might think changing diapers in mid-air without touching the counter in the public restroom is impressive, but CPR is the most important skill you will ever learn. 911 operators might be able to give instructions for CPR, but babies need to get a minute of CPR before you even call 911. It should be mandatory for every parent to learn CPR.

3. How to Stop a Bloody Nose

stop a bloody nose
(c) About.com
Kids pick their noses -- I know; it's shocking. All that rooting around for gold puts them at risk for getting back more than they bargain for. If Junior is too interested in getting the bats out of the cave, you'd better know how to stop his bloody nose before he spews all over the new white carpet. For the record: I don't recommend white carpet with kids.

4. How to Dress a Wound

dress wound
(c) Melanie Martinez
Skinned knees and elbows require Mom Care (you know, one part Band-Aid and five parts hugs and kisses). Indeed, dads need not apply. Which is good, because dads -- and I know, because I am one -- just tell our kids to "suck it up" and stop crying. It heals, eventually.

5. How to Treat a Burn

friction burn
(c) flickr user Zoe
No matter how many times you tell Suzie to be careful around the oven, she is sure to touch it -- or the stove, heater, fireplace, toaster, candle or that glowing coil thingy in the hair dryer -- at least once. When she gets a burn, do you know what to do?

6. How to Save a Choking Baby

infant CPR
Photo by Army Pfc. Eric Liesse via flickr
One day my wife (an EMT) was standing at the ER door with a bunch of paramedics, myself included. A woman with a baby rushes up to us saying her daughter is choking. As one paramedic pulls out his stethoscope to listen, my wife steps in, takes the kid, flips her on her belly with her head down and pounds on her back. The bite of sandwich pops out; my wife gives the girl back to her mom, who leaves stunned. Another day at the office.

7. How to Do the Heimlich Maneuver

(c) About.com
Getting a chunk of sirloin out of Grampa's throat might be a little harder than a 1 year old, but you gotta try. When "Grampa down!" is heard at the family reunion, the kids expect Mom and Dad to save the day.

8. How to Stop Diarrhea

BRAT diet for diarrhea
(c) flickr user Heather
I don't know if you have brats, but the BRAT diet sure does the trick for diarrhea. Doesn't "BRAT diet" sound like another name for the Hansel and Gretel cookbook?

9. How to Stop Nausea

(c) flickr user Paul O'Mara
Best trick to calm an upset stomach: pull over. It's likely Junior's feeling queasy because he's riding in the backseat between his sisters being force fed Hannah Montana and sniffing sparkly nail polish. Of course, it could be the six yards of fruit snacks.

10. How to Treat Head Lice

head lice
(c) Melanie Martinez
Nasty critters, these head lice. I hate to break it to all you new parents out there, but little Mary's beautiful blonde curls are definitely going to host some of these bugs. The worst part is, they love clean hair. The best part is, it's not the end of the world.

11. How to Remove a Splinter

In the parent world, this is trauma surgery. Splinters -- especially from playground equipment -- are regarded by most in the under 3 demographic as major medical emergencies. Any parent worth his weight in salt must have the chops to slide a huge chunk of redwood (huge by 3 year old standards) out of a finger.

12. How to Treat a Bee Sting

Stinging bee
(c) Dimas Ardian/Getty Images
This is a little like a splinter, only it pumps venom into the skin as long as it stays stuck. The most important take away from this skill is to skip the scraping stuff your mother taught you. Nobody wants to stand there getting pumped full of poison while Dad digs a credit card out of his wallet to scrape off the stinger. Just pull it out for cryin' out loud!

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.