8 Life-Saving Skills Every Parent Should Know

monochrome photo of child on a canal

When you have kids, it’s important to know how to care for the during unexpected emergencies. Here are 7 life-saving skills every parent should know!


by Troop Atomic Mommy

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A parent’s life is already hectic enough without having to add to it the emergency scenarios that can and often do happen with children in tow. So having some life-saving skills in your wheel house of knowledge can actually be helpful when unexpected events happen.

For example, statistics show that a person has a 50% chance of survival if CPR is administered within four to six minutes of the event. As a parent, this is a must-have skill in addition to all your parenting know-how to keep stress at bay. But what other life-saving skills for children should you know. Below are some life-saving skills every parent must have.

#1 Learn to detect a pulse in younger children

Knowing how to check the pulse of children and babies is an essential life-saving skill. There may be times when your child is experiencing different internal events that you cannot see. So, you will likely need to know their pulse to tell EMT’s. Just make sure you have a record of it kept on paper or in your phone so you can share how and when the pulse changed and was not normal.

The generally accepted way to check for a pulse is to use your index and middle fingers. Place these two digits on the inner part of the other person’s wrist and count the number of beats you feel. You may need a clock or wristwatch to help you count the number of beats in 30 or 60 seconds. It is pretty easy to do this for older children and adults. However, it is slightly more difficult for a baby or toddler. In that case, medical experts say, the right thing to do is to lay the baby on its back. 

While in that position, you will have to position one arm of your baby towards their ear. The aim is to feel the brachial pulse. It is named after the brachial artery between the upper arm and the elbow joint. This pulse is more pronounced in babies and toddlers, making it a quicker way to check for a beat if they are unconscious. The success of this life-saving skill will largely depend on your ability to remain calm even in a moment of anguish. Moreover, you will need this pulse information before calling or rushing to the doctor’s office.

#2 Learn to administer CPR

hands of person doing cpr on training dummy
Photo by Raven Domingo on Pexels.com

Did you know that a child can drown from a small gulp of water? If you did know that, great, but if you didn’t, then CPR is one of the top life-saving skills that you need to know.

According to a Cleveland Clinic survey, 54% of Americans know something about CPR. However, many have not practiced it with a real person. CPR is crucial in the first four to six minutes when breathing is impaired or the heart suddenly stops beating. It is also administered differently between adults, kids, and babies. For this reason, it is better to receive training on this life-saving skill. You can check sites like  https://cprcertificationnow.com/collections/cpr-and-first-aid-certifications for details. If you do get certified to administer CPR, you could become a huge helping hand to your child’s sports teams, as they could require your assistance in the event of an emergency.

#3 Resolve choking incidents

You may know to deliver sharp abdominal thrusts and back blows to a choking person. However, do you know where and how to position your hands, especially when dealing with kids?

It is an open secret that young kids will put just about anything that fits into their mouths. As a parent, holding the child around the waist would be helpful, with your hands interlocked between the navel and rib cage. In this position, you will need to thrust your hands in an inward and outward motion in a bid to dislodge the object in the throat. You will have to be mindful of the lower rib cage as you do this. 

However, when dealing with a baby, the technique is different. You must place them along your forearm in a face-down position, using your lap to stabilize the arm holding the baby. With the free hand, apply quick blows using your open palm and not a fist. After the baby is relieved, you still need to go to the doctor’s office for additional checks.

It is important to note that in both situations, as children’s throats are smaller than adults, to never place a finger down a baby’s or child’s throat to remove any lodged items. Remember to call 911 before beginning any of the above methods so in the case nothing works, the emergency team will be on hand to rush the child to the hospital.

#4 Prevent anaphylactic shock from occurring

Nowadays, kids are always coming home with all sorts of allergies. Whether they’re born with it or they acquire it along their journey of growing up, allergies are a serious matter. They can be caused by anything and can happen at anytime. One minute you could be enjoying a piece of pineapple and the very next day, you could become allergic to it.

The problem with allergies, like food or animal allergies, is that you won’t know how severe they are unless you see an Allergy Specialist who tests what you’re allergic to. With that said, here’s a few life-saving skills to keep in your parenting back pocket to prevent an emergency incident. Always keep children’s Benadryl or something similar in your purse. Make to always carry water with you to wash off any pesticides from fruit. Lastly, remember to keep an EpiPen in your bag at all times to administer in the case of anaphylactic shock setting in. Just be taking these few steps could mean the difference between your child walking away from an allergic reaction safely versus fatally.

#5 Learn to Use an AED

An AED – also known as an automated external defibrillator – has the ability to restart the heart. Learning to use an AED machine is an important life-saving skill to have because there a number of scenarios that could require the use of one, such as person experiencing cardiac arrest.

There are many public places like supermarkets and airports that have AED’s easily accessible in the case of a public emergency event. And while certification to use this machine is recommended, it has an automated voice to guide you through the process.

#6 Prevent Hypothermia

This is an extremely important life-saving skill that parents need to have. Children love to play outdoors, even when it’s cold and snowing. But on those particular days, the weather could be brutally cold, very wet, and water areas could be made unsafe. Since children tend to be curious, you can bet that if they find an icy lake or river, they’ll attempt to walk on it.

With that said, they could go through the ice into the freezing waters, thus inducing hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs in the body when its core temperature drops below normal muscular and cerebral function. You can tell if someone is suffering from Hypothermia if they are uncontrollably shivering, seem drowsy, or if their heart rate is unusually slow.

Children can suffer from Hypothermia just like adults can if they encounter extreme cold or become wet in cold temperatures. This can quickly become fatal if not combatted. The best way to help a child through is to remove their wet clothes, wrap them up in a blanket or sleeping bag, and be sure to give them warm liquids.

#7 Learn to control bleeding

Kids love playing tag, running around, playing sports, and enjoy all kinds of adventures. Because they do, they’re also prone to getting cuts and scrapes. Small cuts and scrapes are easily treatable with a quick wash of the area, application of Neosporin, and a bandaid to cover it up. But what about the bigger gashes that require immediate attention?

This is why learning to control bleeding is also a vital life-saving skill that every parent should know. If your child happens to receive a wound where blood is flowing freely, then you will need to apply pressure to the site immediately. Use a clean cloth, gauze, or even your shirt to put pressure. The more pressure you add, the more likely the bleeding will stop, allowing the blood to coagulate. Try to elevate the wound above the heart, as it could also aid in slowing blood flow to the region. Depending on how serious the wound is, you may need to use a shoe lace or belt to tie tightly above where the wound is. Make sure you dictate to someone nearby to call 9-1-1, since your hands will likely be unavailable.

#8 Learn to how to escape a sinking car

A sinking car is dangerous and can happen due to a multitude of reasons. It could occur after a near-miss where the vehicle veers off the road into an embankment. A car could drive into a seemingly safe water-filled road wherein fact it’s flooded. And that’s just two incidents where a car could begin to sink. Since parents are always on the road with their kids, knowing how to escape a sinking car is your best life-saving skill to have.

Firs thing to remember is that if your car happens to get into water, your car will float in the earliest moments of this dangerous situation. According to the August 2010 issue of Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, Gordon Giesbrecht PhD, from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, concluded that a vehicle is most easily exited during the initial floating phase which typically lasts between 15 seconds and around a minute–before the level of water reaches the bottom of the car windows.

This means you literally only have moments to get you and your children out of the car. You don’t want to wait until the car becomes fully submerged. Here’s a few steps to do this safely and quickly: (1) as soon as the car hits the water, roll down all the windows (battery life should last for this party), (2) if your kids are old enough, tell them to unbuckle while you do too, (3) then tell them to jump out of the windows and you do it, too. This should be done as calmly and quickly as possible. You can do a dry-run in your driveway to prepare for this kind of event. Give your kids the mantra for practice, “seatbelts, windows, out”, and make them repeat it over and over again.

The Takeaway

Being a parent comes with a great deal of responsibility, and that includes keeping children safe, even in the face of unexpected dangers. So whether you’re a parent-to-be or an experienced parent, the life-saving skills above are really important for every parent to know. Hopefully, you won’t ever have to use any of them!


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