There was a day when Orla was teeny, and I’d been sent some lovely cappuccino cups for my first ever Instagram giveaway. We opened the parcel together behind the front door – she was in her ‘wow’ stage and wanted to see and touch everything. I lifted the lid, & before I even realised one was broken, she cut her finger on a razor-like shard of porcelain.
She bled and bled and bled. My white tshirt became streaked with her precious, tiny baby blood. I wrapped her little sock around her finger, but the blood leaked through. It was smeared across her face and her clothes and the wall. It dripped onto the floor with the most chilling ‘tick tick tick‘.
I freaked out. It began to look like an awful lot of blood, relative to her size, and it really wasn’t stopping. I knew I should compress the wound but she was squirming and slippery with blood, and I couldn’t get her to hold still. She was clinging to me, screaming, and though I’ve had plenty of first aid training over the years, I just couldn’t think what to do. The hallway began to look like a murder scene. I googled ‘baby won’t stop bleeding‘ but nothing came up. I left Rory a semi-hysterical voicemail message. I began to think I should go to A&E, but I didn’t want to be ridiculous, and was dimly aware that I hadn’t really tried any first aid yet.

& so, thankfully, I went to the bathroom cabinet, and found a roll of bandage. I managed to wrap it really tightly around her finger, somehow, and decided to wait and see how quickly this new bandage soaked through.
The binding worked and the bleeding stopped. Rory came home, frantic, to find us watching cBeebies in bed, the hall still scarlet and messy, both of us still in our blood stained clothes.
It wasn’t my finest hour as a parent or as a rational adult. It made me realise how much of our logic we can lose in a panicky situation; I remembered the NHS resuscitation trainer, who taught life support full time, admitting to getting it wrong when she saw her own young daughter choking. Sometimes you need a reminder.
What I needed that day – and what I have now – is an app like the British Red Cross Baby & Child First Aid app. It covers all the first aid scenarios you’re likely to face with little ones in short, calm and instructive little chunks – through video, animations & tips.
It can be used as a learning aid or in an emergency for clear & concise instructions on delivering the right care for the situation.
& it’s totally free.

Now I’ve left the NHS & my annual training refreshers behind, I’ve installed it on all my devices and we’re looking into BRC’s local first aid training courses too. When my camera roll is full & I need more phone space, my finger sometimes hovers over the BRC app, but then I remember how I felt that day in the hallway, and I never delete it.
I hope I never use it; I hope you never need to either. But just in case, just so you’re ready, you can download it here.

Have you ever had a first aid emergency with your kids or loved ones? did you handle it better than me..?

This post in collaboration with The British Red Cross.

8 Comments

  • TheDaydreamerDiary

  • July 31, 2015

Hi Sara,

Very useful tip, thanks for sharing – I find that reading and learning about basic life-saving reactions is a good way to try and remember some of it in case of emergency. The only time an emergency happened at home, my eldest fell face forward and bit her tongue, bleading quite a bit – could not see what was wrong because her mouth was all red. I grabbed the phone. Called the pediatrician (managed to get through the secretary) and she gave me very succinct and clear instructions. Honestly, she was great. And she was available, which I do realize may not happen all the time… If I look back now, I realize that my reaction was to turn to others, look for instant help. So yes, why not an app?

  • Sara Tasker

  • July 27, 2015

Oh Emma. I know you mentioned this briefly recently, but the full story gives me goosebumps. I can’t imagine your terror.

It’s in this app. It’s there with a scary video of a seizure, and clear guidance with a Moira Stewart type voice telling you what to do. It seems like it would be comforting if that terror struck.
Here’s hoping it helps some other poor family when they need it xx

  • Emma Mitchell

  • July 27, 2015

My eldest had just turned two. She had a fever and was listless but we dosed her up & weren’t too concerned. Then, as we fell asleep around midnight she gave a small cry in her cot & there was a rustling noise. She was having a fit. She didn’t come out of it, even after the ambulance had travelled 12 miles to our tiny village. She had to be filled with anti convulsive a & apparently, valium to stop the fit. She didn’t come round for five hours & we found ourselves on a ward for six days. They lost all her samples but thought she had an infection in her brain. It was a time of horror. I was five months pregnant & we both slept on her tiny ward bed with her every night. She was on a constant cocktail of antibiotics & antiviral a. We couldn’t do anything to help her whilst she was fitting, except put her in the recovery position on our bed, away from hard objects.

She continued to have fits when she had a temperature for 2 more years. She recovered completely. 6% of all children have febrile convulsions caused by high temperatures but it’s not something parents know about until it’s happening and they genuinely think their child is dying. It should be in more of the manuals. In an app somewhere. Most children grow out of it but the parental terror is very real.

  • Caro

  • July 27, 2015

Aww, thanks – and thanks for the tip, Sara. I’ll definitely buy some of those butterfly stitches for the first aid box. (They’ll be useful for me and my fingers as well!) I’ll be showing Ofsted my app, although hopefully won’t have the dreaded inspection for a few months! And my parenting experiences have made me super careful with the kids in my care – lots of fun and handwashing!

  • Sara Tasker

  • July 27, 2015

Oh my! I’m sort of half glad to hear it happens to us all, and half heartbroken for you having such an ordeal (or two!). A friend recently told me about some little ready-made butterfly stitches you can buy in the pharmacy for things like that – wounds that need help closing for when you can’t face/get to A&E. This has reminded me to buy some!
It sounds like you have that fine balance just right, which makes you a brilliant childminder in my book. I’m sure Ofsted would be impressed if you showed them your super fancy app too 😀

  • Sara Tasker

  • July 27, 2015

I routinely cried in my first aid courses at work. Quietly, obviously.
Yes, perhaps it’s the added element of it being your child that makes it so overwhelming. The app has a nice newsreader voice that I think I would listen to in an emergency!

  • Sheona

  • July 27, 2015

When I did my first aid training at work, I remember thinking that I would never be able to do it in a real situation. There has only been 1 time I’ve needed to use it and actually, I managed!

That said, I don’t think I’d be able to if it was Ally. I tend to find myself stuck to the spot where he is involved! I’ll definitely download the app, thanks for sharing x

  • Caro

  • July 27, 2015

Really good to know about this app, Sara, thanks. I child-mind two/three days of the week so have regular paediatric first aid training but this would bring extra reassurance. My personal moment was when my then 15 month son tripped when running. His earlobe was cut open by the edge of a little metal table (I thought I’d be safe with a round one) – there was so much blood! I should have taken him to A+E but could only hold him tight until the wails and sobbing stopped, holding numerous cloths to the wound. He survived, of course; the table didn’t. And there was the time he sucked paint from a tube while I was doing an illustration … (cue frantic phone calls to the poisons department at a London teaching hospital!) Parenting is a fine balance between letting them explore and keeping our children safe – and accidents happen. Have a good fun filled day!

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