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First Aid for Children

Baby Doctor

An oral syringe generally provides the greatest accuracy in measuring medication. It also results in the least amount of spilled or lost medication. And when your child gets older, he'll probably enjoy squirting the medicine into his own mouth. (It also makes a great bathtub toy.)

Baby Doctor

Never give your baby syrup of ipecac without the explicit instructions of your pediatrician or poison control center. Also, please take special care to follow your pediatrician's instructions regarding the dosage and frequency of any medication, including acetaminophen.

During the first three months of your child's life, you will hopefully have little need for first aid. Because your newborn has almost no mobility, he has few chances to injure himself. In all likelihood, you will need little more in the way of a first-aid kit than a thermometer, an accurate means of measuring out medications, syrup of ipecac (to make your child vomit if he ingests anything poisonous), and a bottle of acetaminophen drops.

Nonetheless, it's never too soon to learn about first aid and begin putting together a complete first-aid kit. Although you may not need many of these items in the first three months of your baby's life, you're sure to use most of the following as he grows older and more mobile:

  • Adhesive bandages of various sizes (for cuts and scrapes)
  • Large (1"-2") non-stick bandages (for larger wounds)
  • Adhesive tape (for holding non-stick bandages in place)
  • Sterile gauze or gauze pads
  • Scissors (for cutting bandages, gauze, and tape)
  • Thermometer (preferably a rectal one)
  • Calibrated medicine dropper, spoon, or syringe
  • Syrup of ipecac, to cause vomiting in case of poisoning
  • Liquid acetaminophen
  • Local pain reliever (herbal or medicinal) for teething
  • Spray for relieving bee stings and insect bites
  • Calamine lotion or other soothing lotion (for cooling the skin and reducing itching in case of sunburns or rashes)
  • Hydrocortisone cream and/or benadyne (for allergic reactions)
  • Antiseptic liquid (for washing your own hands before and after administering first aid)
  • Ice pack (to reduce aching and swelling)
  • Tweezers (for removing splinters)
  • Complete family medical guide

If you use up any of these first-aid supplies, replace it as soon as you can so that it will be available if you need it again. Also, check expiration dates on all medications regularly. You never know when you may need to use them.

Be Prepared: Infant CPR

If your child chokes or stops breathing, your knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) could save her life. The only way for you to be truly certain that you know how to perform CPR on your child is to take a CPR course. If you did not take a course in CPR for children prior to your baby's birth, take one in the first few months of her life.

Baby Doctor

To find a course on CPR for infants and children, consult your chapter of the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, local hospitals and schools, parenting organizations, and the adult education programs offered in your community.

CPR instructors not only show you what to do, but also provide you with the much needed opportunity for hands-on experience. To pass the course and get your CPR certification, you have to demonstrate the techniques yourself. Then and only then will you know that, should the time come, you will have the knowledge you need.

Here is a brief overview of the steps of CPR:

  1. Check your child's Airway, Breathing, and Circulation (ABC).
  2. If your child has stopped breathing, perform artificial respiration. Lay your baby down, tilt her head back slightly, place your mouth over her mouth and nose, and gently exhale five times into her mouth and nose. Watch to make sure her chest rises with your breaths.
  3. If your child has no pulse, give her CPR. Locate your child's breastbone by placing three fingers in a line down the center of her chest, with the index finger centered between the nipples; then lift the index finger. Between each breath of artificial respiration, press down sharply about one inch (but not too deeply) with the two remaining fingers five times in three seconds. Recheck the pulse after every five breaths.

This description provides only a brief overview of CPR for infants. If you ever need to use it, you won't have the time to thumb frantically through this--or any other--book. So do yourself and your baby a huge favor: Take an infant CPR class as soon as possible.

More on: Babies

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing Up Baby © 1997 by Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


August 29, 2014



Eating a colorful diet or fruits and veggies helps ensure your child is getting the nutrients he needs to keep his brain sharp while at school. Aim to pack three or more different colored foods in his lunch (or for snack) every day.


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