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First Aid Fact Sheet

We need first aid when someone is injured. We can learn basic first aid to help someone who has been injured while someone else runs to get help.

What is an injury?

When something hurts our body is telling us to STOP doing whatever we are doing because it has been hurt. If we pick up a hot plate we feel pain in our hands and drop the plate. If we trap our fingers in the door we shout out in pain and get our fingers free. Sometimes things happen so quickly our body can’t help us get to safety. That’s when we can get hurt. Injuries can be small – like cuts, bruises and sprains, or small burns. Injuries can be big like getting hurt in a road accident, breaking our bones when we fall, or drowning when we get into water that is too deep or too fast moving.


The most important thing we need to do when someone is injured is GET HELP. If we are with other children, one person can stay with the injured person and the others can go and get help. If you are alone with a seriously injured person stay with them, attend to the injury if you can and shout for help.

First Aid Basics

The aim of first aid is to keep someone alive and help them get better. It is good to know basic first aid so that if someone is injured you can help them stay alive and stop their injuries getting worse while someone goes for help. If we know basic first aid we can stop someone dying from their injuries when they are seriously hurt.


If someone has caught fire, wrap them in a blanket or roll them on the ground to put the flames out.

Small burns

  • Cool the area with cold water
  • Cover the burn with clean gauze (muslin/cotton)
  • Do not break any blisters – let the burn heal naturally.

Large burns

  • Get help from a healthcare worker right away.
  • Make sure the person is away from the fire or source of heat and that nothing on their body is burning.
  • Do not try and remove clothing.
  • Do not use cool water – this may cause shock.
  • If the hands or feet are burnt raise them above the head.
  • Loosely cover the burns with towels or clean cloths wrung out in cold, clean water.
  • If the person is unconscious (as if they are sleeping) check they can breathe and nothing – including their tongue – is blocking their mouth then roll them onto their side so they don’t choke.
  • If they aren’t breathing then you may need to resuscitate them – see RESUSCITATION below.

See our burns and scalds fact sheet for more information.

Broken bones, bruises and sprains

A broken bone is VERY painful – the person will not be able to move and will be in a lot of pain. If this happens do not move them! Go and get help from a health worker right away.

For bad bruises and sprains, put the injured area in cold water or put an icepack (ice wrapped in cloth) on the injury for 15 minutes. Remove the icepack or water, wait 15 minutes and repeat, if necessary. The cold will help stop pain, swelling and bruising.

Cuts and wounds

For small cuts and wounds:

  • Wash the wound with clean (boiled and cooled) water and soap.
  • Dry the skin around the wound.
  • Cover the wound with a clean cloth and place a sterile bandage over it.

For serious cuts and wounds:

  • Send someone to run for help.
  • If a piece of glass or other object is sticking in the wound, do not take it out. It may be stopping more bleeding, and removing it could make the injury worse.
  • If the person is bleeding a lot, press down firmly against the wound (or near it if something is stuck in it) with a pad made of folded clean cloth or just your hand. Keep pushing down until the bleeding stops. Don’t take the pad or your hand away.

DO NOT LEAVE A PERSON BLEEDING – shout for help if you are alone – keep something on the wound and keep pushing down to stop the bleeding.


If you see someone in trouble in the water, throw a rope you can pull them in with – or a tree branch or something they can grab hold of to support them. Do not get into the water to try and help them. For more information, see our drowning face sheet.


If a younger brother or sister has something stuck in their throat –

  • If they are coughing let them cough – they may cough out the object.
  • If they aren’t coughing and can’t breathe send for help – but right away put them on their tummy with their head low, and give them five strong pats on the back between their shoulder blades. Turn them over and then use your hand to push up five times in between their rib cage. Do it again if the object is still stuck.

These pictures of how to help a choking baby or child will help. They are from Australia so the telephone number isn’t useful but the pictures are very clear! This page lists international emergency numbers from around the world.


Find out what has been taken, when and how much.

Get help right away and take the person to a healthcare worker with the bottle of poison or packet of pills or other chemicals they have taken or been exposed to.

If the poison is on their skin or in their eyes, wash with lots of clean water.

If they have eaten the poison don’t try and make them sick, this can make them even more ill.


Find out more about First Aid from the Child to Child Trust Activity Sheet. This activity sheet explains when and how to use First Aid in more detail. It includes information on life saving techniques including external chest compression and mouth to mouth resuscitation. This activity sheet can be used to help children learn and practise first aid skills over several sessions.

Facts for Life has clear instructions on first aid, designed to help you stop an injury getting worse before help arrives. This information has been used in this fact sheet.