First aid treatment for an unwell child

The essential guide to first aid treatment for an unwell child

Ensuring the safety and well-being of children is paramount in any environment. Whether at home, school or in public spaces, being equipped with the knowledge and skills to administer first aid to an unwell child can make all the difference in an emergency situation. In this blog, Rose delves into the essential aspects of first aid treatment for children, empowering you with the necessary information to respond effectively and confidently when faced with a medical crisis involving a child.

Key facts and statistics

  • According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), around 2 million children under the age of 15 experience accidents in and around the home each year in the UK.
  • Research indicates that prompt and appropriate first aid interventions can significantly improve outcomes for children in medical emergencies.

Key definitions

  • First aid - Immediate assistance or treatment is given to someone who has been injured or taken ill before professional medical help arrives.
  • Unwell child - A child experiencing symptoms of illness or distress, ranging from minor ailments to more serious medical conditions.

Relevant legislation, regulations, and best practice

  • Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 - Employers are required to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities, and personnel to ensure the provision of first aid to employees if they are injured or become ill at work.
  • Children Act 1989 - Places a duty on local authorities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need, including ensuring appropriate medical care and attention.

Recognising signs of illness

  • Common symptoms - Fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, lethargy, and changes in behaviour or consciousness.
  • Observation and assessment - Monitor the child's vital signs, including temperature, breathing rate, and level of responsiveness.

Immediate response and first aid actions

  • Fever management - Administer appropriate medication (e.g., paracetamol) following dosage guidelines based on the child's age and weight.
  • Breathing difficulties - Position the child in a comfortable and supported position, and if necessary, administer rescue breaths or CPR if the child stops breathing.


  • Education and training - Consider undertaking a paediatric first aid course to gain confidence and competence in administering first aid to children.
  • First aid kits - Ensure you have a well-stocked first aid kit readily available, both at home and in other environments where children may be present.
  • Emergency contacts - Keep a list of emergency contact numbers, including healthcare professionals and local emergency services.


Knowing how to respond promptly and effectively can be life-saving in times of crisis. By familiarising yourself with the principles of first aid treatment for children and taking proactive steps to prepare for emergencies, you can play a vital role in safeguarding the well-being of the children in your care. Let's empower ourselves with knowledge and skills to ensure a safer environment for our children.

Ready to enhance your first aid skills and become a confident first responder? Click here to explore our range of paediatric first aid courses today and take the first step towards making a difference in children's lives.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

The essential guide to first aid treatment for an unwell child - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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