First Aid

As the head of first aid education at the British Red Cross; part of the world’s leading first aid training provider, Joe Mulligan has spent over 25 years working in emergency care and educating the public in the importance of learning first aid.

Joe’s career as a healthcare professional began as a nurse. He then worked for the ambulance service for 7 years both as a member of an emergency ambulance crew and in a training capacity. Joe has written and co-authored a number of first aid publications.

Joe remains passionate about first aid.  Joe says ‘educating people in first aid is a key part of the Red Cross mission, it’s most satisfying to know that being part of such a goal can help an individual cope in an emergency or even save someone’s life’.

For individual advice you can contact Joe direct at: 
Speak to him direct on 0906 130 1111
£0.50min from a BT landline; calls from mobiles and other networks may vary.

Would you know what to do if your child burned or scalded themselves?  How would you help them if they had a febrile convulsion? Read the following to find out what to do.

What should I do if my child begins to choke on something?

Choking incidents are pretty common and usually easily sorted. With babies and toddlers, in addition to them choking at mealtimes, they also explore their surroundings by putting things into their mouth.

For babies i.e. aged one and under
Hold him face down along your forearm with his head lower than his bottom but with his head supported. Give up to 5 back blows between his shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. Check his mouth quickly after each one and remove any obvious obstruction. 
If the obstruction is still present give up to 5 chest thrusts; with two fingers in the middle of his chest push inwards and upwards. Again, check the mouth quickly after each one.
Continue with cycles of back blows and chest thrusts until the problem is resolved.

For anyone older than one
Give up to 5 back blows between his shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. Check his mouth quickly after each one and remove any obvious obstruction. 
If the obstruction is still present give up to 5 abdominal thrusts also known as the Heimlich manoeuvre; place a clenched first above his navel and pull inwards and upwards.  Check the mouth quickly after each thrust. 
If the obstruction does not clear continue with cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts.
Seek medical advice for anyone who has been given chest or abdominal thrusts, as there is a risk of internal damage.

Please be reassured that effective back blows do cure the majority of choking incidents. 

My friend said her son suffers from febrile convulsions. I’ve no idea what they are, how I would spot one or what I should do.  Can you explain?

Yes febrile convulsions can be very frightening things to watch although just to assure you they are very rarely dangerous.
They are caused by a sudden rise in body temperature, which is normally associated with an ear or throat infection.
If a child is having a febrile convulsion their skin will be hot to touch and when the seizure begins their muscles will twitch.  The twitching can be quite violent. Their eyes may appear fixed or roll upwards, their back may arch and their fists may be clenched and they may hold their breath and their face will look blue.
Firstly ensure the child does not injure himself then cool him down – remove his clothing, open a window or switch on a fan.
If you can, give the child some paracetamol based medicine. If the symptoms continue or you are concerned seek medical advice.

My one year old managed to spill my coffee, over her arm.  I wasn’t sure what to do, so I just put a wet towel on her arm. If it happens again what is the best thing to do?


There are numerous incidences of babies and toddlers getting a scald from hot drinks.  Even if the drink does not feel hot to an adult it can still cause damage to a baby’s sensitive skin.
Cool the affected area as quickly as possible by placing under cold running water, for at least 10 minutes. A shower can be used to cool a burn providing you can support the baby in the shower. Only use the showerhead to cool the affected area, ensure temperature is set to cool and the pressure is low. 
Be careful to only cool the affected area of the burn with cold water rather than their whole body as this
could result in hypothermia.
Once cooled, cover loosely with cling film. Discard the first bit as it may be contaminated by touch or food. Cling film is great for burns or scalds to arms and legs. A clean plastic bag is particularly good for treating burns to the hand, once over the hand secure the bag in place lightly using a plaster or bandage. 
Once the burn or scald is cooled and covered seek medical advice
If a blister appears avoid the temptation to “pop” it, just leave it and this will help the healing process and reduce the risk of infection.
People are often tempted to apply burn gels and sprays. These may give some superficial relief to the surface of the burn area but the actual importance of cooling a burn or a scald is that the cooling is done deep down under the skin where it is most damaged.