A man holds a toddler as they lean together over a shallow stream and drop something in the water - first aid for family days out.

As spring finally brings warm and sunny weather, and even summer seems just around the corner, many of us are getting out and about with little ones.

It’s hard to beat spending time with the family. You could be visiting an attraction, taking a trip to the park or just having a picnic in the back garden.

But with excitement levels running high, trips and tumbles can be common on days out. Fortunately, with some simple first aid know-how you can feel confident that you could help should you need to.

Read on for our handy first aid tips for days out.

Playing in the park: first aid for bites and stings

A toddler wearing a sun hat smiles and holds a dandelion in a field of tall grass

A local park or garden is a lovely place to spend a fresh, sunny day with babies and children, exploring the flora and fauna.

When we come out to explore, though, so do insects, and bites and stings can sometimes happen. Usually a sting from a bee, wasp or hornet is painful rather than dangerous, but here’s how you can help:

  1. If the sting is visible on the skin, use the edge of a credit card to scrape it away.
  2. Apply an ice-pack such as frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel to the affected area to minimise pain and swelling.
  3. If you see any signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing, a rash, swelling or itchy skin on the baby or child’s hands, feet or face, call 999.

Picnic in the garden: first aid for choking

A family of three relax in the grass with a picnic blanket in front of them - get advice on first aid for choking

You don’t have to go far from home for a family day out – a picnic in the garden works just as well. But in all the excitement of eating outdoors, a bit of food could slip down the wrong way.

If a baby (under the age of one) is choking, they will be unable to cry, cough, make any noise or breathe. Here’s how to help:

  1. Give up to five back blows: hold the baby face-down along your thigh with their head lower than their bottom. Hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades up to five times. If back blows do not dislodge the blockage, move on to step 2.
  2. Give up to five chest thrusts: turn the baby over so they are facing upwards. Place two fingers in the middle of their chest just below the nipples. Push sharply downwards up to five times.
  3. Call 999 if the blockage does not dislodge. If you can’t call 999, get someone else to do it. Continue with cycles of back blows and chest thrusts until the blockage dislodges, help arrives or the baby becomes unresponsive (they’re not moving and don’t respond when you call them or tap their foot).

If a child (over the age of one) is choking, they may be clutching at their chest or neck and won’t be able to speak, breathe or cough. Here’s how to help:

  1. Give up to five back blows: hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades. If back blows do not dislodge the object, move on to step 2.
  2. Give up to five abdominal thrusts: hold the child around the waist and pull inwards and upwards above their belly button.
  3. Call 999 if the blockage does not dislodge. If you can’t call 999, get someone else to do it. Continue with cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts until the blockage dislodges, help arrives or the child becomes unresponsive (they’re not moving and don’t respond when you call them or gently shake their shoulders).

Sandcastles at the seaside: first aid for sunburn

A toddler on a beach fills a bucket with sand - learn first aid for sunburn

When the sun shines, a trip to the seaside is a must. Dig out those dusty buckets and spades, make sure you have change for ice creams, and take to the sand with the little ones.

But don’t forget that as you’re building the world’s best sandcastle, the sun is beating its rays down on you.

When it comes to sunburn, prevention is better than cure. So, make sure you apply lots of high factor sun cream and encourage children to play in the shade, especially when the sun is at its hottest.

If a child does have sunburn, here’s how you can help:

  1. Move them into the shade.
  2. Encourage them to have frequent sips of cold water and cool the affected skin by dabbing with cold water.
  3. Apply after sun lotion to soothe the area.

Cycling in the countryside: first aid for a broken bone

A view from the back of family of four cycling down a wooded path - the Red Cross can help with advice on first aid for family days out

Taking a bike ride in the woods or countryside is a great way for the kids to blow off some steam in the fresh air.

But if a little one takes a fall and you think they may have broken a bone, here’s how you can help.

  1. Support the injury with cushions or items of clothing to prevent unnecessary movement.
  2. Call 999 as soon as possible.
  3. Continue supporting the injury until help arrives.

Bouncing on the trampoline: first aid for a bump on the head

Two young children bounce on a trampoline - first aid for a bump on the head

Whether you’re visiting a trampoline park or bouncing in the garden, trampolines seem to generate instant joy for little ones.

All that springing about can lead to mishaps though, so it always helps to be prepared for bumps and falls.

If your child bounces a bit too enthusiastically and bumps their head, they may have pain or a headache. There may be a bump on their head and they may look pale. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Get them to rest and apply something cold to the injury: for example, frozen vegetables wrapped in a tea towel.
  2. Call 999 if they become drowsy, vomit or their condition gets worse.

Find out more

If you’d like to learn more, the free Baby and Child First Aid app is packed with animations, videos, tips and quizzes. Once downloaded, the app doesn’t need to connect to the internet, making it fast and easy to use wherever you are.