Summer break is coming and the kids will soon be out of school. No matter how vigilant you are as a parent, accidents can and will happen. Medical emergencies can happen anywhere, to anyone, at any time. Being prepared won’t keep bad things from happening but it will give you more confidence and coolness under pressure. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to deal with just about any situation.

  • Don’t freak out.

When your kid is hurt and screaming bloody murder, it’s important for you to remain calm. Freaking out will only make things worse. Keeping your cool will help calm them down so you can assess the situation and determine your next steps.

  • Act fast

If it’s a life-threatening or severe injury, try not to move them, call 911 immediately. Unconsciousness, profuse bleeding, seizures, head/spinal injuries, broken bones, deep cuts, severe burns, etc. are all 911-worthy emergencies. Call 911 first and then care for your child once help is on the way or you are instructed to by the emergency dispatcher.

  • Grab your first aid kit

A first aid kit is a great thing to have. You should keep one in your home and in your car. You can buy a first aid kit at the store or you can make one yourself. Either way, be sure to check the kit regularly to make sure nothing is expired. If something is out of date, replace it immediately. You don’t want to be packing a bunch of crap when it’s crunch time and you need to respond to a medical emergency.

If your kid is bleeding grab the gauze from your first aid press it firmly over the site. If you don’t have a first aid kit use a clean cloth and hold pressure until it stops bleeding. This can take anywhere from 3 to 15 minutes. Once the bleeding is stopped run the wound under lukewarm water to clean it and gently pat it dry. Then apply antibiotic ointment.

If your child catches fire, put them out immediately. Do so by making them stop what they are doing, drop to the floor, and have them roll around slowly, covering their face with their hands. Running around screaming can feed the flames and worsen the fire. The quicker you get them to the ground the quicker you can extinguish the situation.

Hold burns under cool running water or apply a cold, wet towel until the pain goes away. If the burns are on the hand, face, or nether regions, go to the emergency room right away. Burns or blisters elsewhere can be covered with a loose bandage or gauze and tape. If it gets worse take them to the doctor as soon as possible.

If they have a bone sticking out of their body or you suspect a fracture, call 911 immediately. Encourage them to stay still as possible and immobilize the area preferably with a splint or sling. If there is bleeding elevate the limb and apply pressure with gauze or a clean cloth. Then grab an ice pack or ice cubes, wrap it up in a towel or piece of cloth, and apply it to the area for ten-minute intervals. Try everything you can to keep them comfortable as possible until medical professionals arrive.

No matter how watchful we are as parents, accidents can and will happen. It’s up to us to be vigilant, watchful, and prepared for medical emergencies. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, keep calm and act fast. If the injury is severe or life threatening, call for help first then provide first aid. You may not be able to predict when or where an accident may happen but you can make sure you are prepared. Summer is right around the corner and so is the store. If you don’t have a first aid kit get one. If you have one, check the contents and replace out of date items. If you are making your own kit, stock it well and with items you know how to use. To learn more information on first aid kits, emergency preparedness, safety, or to find training/classes in your area visit redcross.org.