Help in the home

23rd September 2005 at 01:00
Joe Mulligan of the Red Cross demonstrates 10 ways to administer emergency first aid in the field using everyday products


If an adult tooth is dislodged and cannot be placed back in its socket, it should be placed in a container of milk. This will stop it drying out and increase the possibility of it being successfully replanted by a dental surgeon.

Soft drink

You may not always have access to cold running water when treating a burn or scald. In this case, use some other cold liquid such as a soft drink or milk. The aim is to cool the burnt area as quickly as possible using whatever cold liquid is available. A soft drink can be used to cool the area while waiting for water or while walking the child to a supply of cold running water. Remember, the area should be cooled for at least 10 minutes for the treatment to be effective.


Chairs have numerous first-aid uses; when treating a nosebleed, sit the child down while pinching the nose and tilting the head forward. If you are treating a bleed from a large wound to the leg, you should lay the child down and raise the leg above the level of the heart. A chair is ideal for this purpose.


Chocolate can be given to a conscious child who is diabetic and having a hypoglycaemia attack, known as a "hypo". This can help raise the child's blood sugar. Chocolate can also be given to a child with hypothermia as high energy foods will help to warm them up.

Cling film

This can be used to wrap around a burn or a scald once it has cooled. It is an ideal covering as it does not stick to the burn. It also keeps the burnt area clean and because it is transparent, you can continue to monitor the burn without removing the covering.

Credit card

When an insect sting is visible on the skin, a credit card can be used to scrape it away. Using the edge of the card, drag it across the skin. This will remove the sting. Using a credit card is preferable to using a pair of tweezers as some stings contain a sac of poison and if the sting is grasped you may inject the sac of poison into the skin. If you do not have a credit card you can use the back of a kitchen knife or any other similar object.


If a child is stung by a tropical jellyfish, pour vinegar over the site of the sting. This will help to stop the poison spreading around the body.

Food bag

A clean freezer or sandwich bag makes an ideal cover for a burn or scald to the hand. The injured part should be placed in the bag once the cooling has finished. By placing it in the bag you reduce the risk of infection and it also helps reduce the level of pain.

Frozen bag

Frozen peas or other frozen small fruit and vegetables packets can be used to treat a sprain or strain. Wrap the peas in a tea towel or something similar and place them on to the injury. This will help to reduce pain and swelling. Peas are ideal as they can be moulded around the injury more easily than bigger fruit and vegetables.

Paper bag

A panic attack often results in a child hyperventilating (breathing very quickly). Reassure himher and get himher to breath into a paper bag, this will help regulate and slow down breathing.

*Adapted from "Five-Minute First Aid for Children", available at all good bookshops, or tel: 0845 601 7105 (RRP pound;6.99). For any other first aid enquiries, including products and training courses, tel: 0870 170 9222; email;

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