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6 First Aid Rules to Teach Your Kids Now

If they can navigate your smartphone better than you, they can also help save a life.

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Essential first aid skills for kids

You won’t always be nearby when your children get hurt. But teach them a few basic first aid skills, and they’ll be empowered to help themselves in the meantime. After all, if they can master your smartphone better than you, they can learn to stop a boo-boo from turning into an uh-oh. Check out more of my lifesaving advice for when medical help is not on the way here.

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Teach your kids: How to call 911

Say: “Have an emergency? Call 911.” When children are old enough to know their numbers, they’re old enough to call 911. You can also program 911 into a speed-dial button on every home phone and paint that button red with nail polish. Teach your kids to tell the operator they need help and to say where emergency personnel should come. Keep your address next to all the landlines, or put it into your cellphone and show your children how to find it.

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Teach your kids: How to stop a bleed

Say: “See blood? Put pressure on it.” Most wounds stop bleeding with direct pressure. A wadded-up cloth pressed down with the base of the hand is preferable, but the bare hand works also. If your child is helping another person, finding some plastic to put on their hands can protect them from that blood. Better yet, teach them to have their friend put pressure on their own wound. Here’s how to use a T-shirt as a medical supply.

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Teach your kids: How to do CPR

Say: “Someone’s not breathing? Start CPR.” Usually a child is 10 or older before they have enough strength and weight to press a chest down for effective CPR. If your kids are old enough, why not take the whole family for a CPR course? Have some fun while learning a basic skill. This 23-year-old helped save her dad’s life by doing CPR after a car collapsed on him.

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Teach your kids: How to treat a burn

Say: “Get burned? Get to water.” Cool a burn. That’s all they need to know. Run the burned skin under cool water. Afterward, someone can clean it and slather on the aloe vera. These are other home remedies for burns to know.

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Teach your kids: How to prevent a scratched cornea

Say: “Eye hurts? Don’t rub it.” What mom told you is true. If you think something is in your eye, don’t rub it. Doing so could scratch the cornea, which could lead to more problems. Many times the tears will wash the object out. If that doesn’t happen, your kid should keep the eye closed until they can get help.

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Teach your kids: How to treat a bee sting

Say: “Get stung? Swipe it off.” A bee stinger has a barb that may stay stuck in the skin after the bee flies away. Attached to the barb is a tiny venom sack that will pump until empty. If your kid sees the barb, they should brush it off quickly with a finger.

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Get more first aid tips and tricks

Find more must-know medical tips in Dr. Hubbard’s newest book, The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook—and share it with your tween and teenage children! Visit TheSurvivalDoctor.com for even more evidence-based tips for dealing with medical problems when getting expert care is impossible.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest