Montana Public Radio

First Aid: Dr. Starbuck Explains

Jun 5, 2018

Hi! I’m Dr. Jamison Starbuck, a naturopathic family physician. I’m here today with health tips on first aid for kids.

First aid means being the first person to help someone who is hurt from an accident or someone who is suddenly sick. First aid is giving help to someone before a doctor or an ambulance comes to help.

Lots of people think that kids can’t do first aid. That’s not true! Kids can give first aid to others. Kids are smart. It’s not hard for them to learn a few simple things they can do in case of a medical emergency. It’s good for everyone to know how to help others.

There are three important rules for the person giving first aid.

The first rule is to stay safe yourself. For example, you are sitting by a campfire and your friend burns his hand. Before you do anything else, make sure that you and your friend are safely away from the campfire so you don’t get burned while trying to help him.

The second rule is to stay calm. When there’s an accident or someone you care about is suddenly sick, it’s easy to get really scared. But to help someone else feel better, you have to stay calm. Be as brave as you can, take deep breaths and try to think clearly. Quietly say reassuring words out loud. You can say things like "it’s going to be ok," "I’m here and I will help" and "I’ve called your parents." Later you can tell someone else how frightened you were and how hard it was to stay calm.

The third rule is to get help. If there are people around, start yelling "Help." Yell it out loudly, over and over until an adult responds. If there are no people around but you have a phone, call your parents. If they don’t answer, call 911, the emergency phone number that you can call from any phone, anywhere in the United States.

Be prepared. When you call 911, they will ask you what is going on, your name and the address you are calling from.

Here’s how kids can do first aid for burns, bleeding and body blows.

When someone is burned, move the injured person away from whatever it is that caused the burn. Run cold water over the burn. Keep the water running over the burn for 10 or 15 minutes and call for help.

When you see someone who is bleeding a lot, it can be hard. First look to see where the blood is coming from. Then find a clean, dry cloth, it can be a towel or whatever is nearby. Press the cloth onto the bleeding area and put pressure on the cloth. Then call an adult or 911.

A body blow is when someone gets hit by something. They trip over a curb and fall on their elbow. They bang their head on a tree branch or get hit in the shins by a baseball bat. First aid for this situation is to put ice, wrapped in a cloth, right on the injured part. If you think the person might have broken a bone, keep the injured part still, support it with a pillow or a bundle of clothing and call for help.

These are just a few tips to get you thinking about first aid. I hope you won’t have to use it, but if you do, thank you for being brave and smart and for making a difference in someone’s life.

I’m Dr. Jamison Starbuck and I’m wishing you well.