What is Paediatric First Aid?

It is the worst thing that you can imagine – a child has a first aid emergency and needs urgent lifesaving help. This is a situation that nobody wants to find themselves in, but unfortunately it can happen, and that is why it’s so critically important that people are trained in paediatric first aid. You may find yourself thinking that you have taken a first aid course previously and that should be enough to provide assistance to a child that needs help.  

It’s true that any help is better than none. However, children are very different to adults, and the way in which first aid procedures are performed on grownups could cause further strain and injury on a child. There are also some unique first aid needs that children have, that will not be taught on a regular first aid at work training course. This is why many people choose to take a 2-day course in paediatric first aid – so that they can be fully prepared in case they find themselves in such a scenario that they can help save a child’s life. 

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what a paediatric first aid course covers, and who should consider taking the course. 

St John Ambulance Cymru also teach a paediatric first aid course. As Wales’ leading first aid training provider and as a standard setter for first aid, we provide the gold-standard training in Wales. Give us a ring on 0345 678 5646 or alternatively send an email to discuss your needs and to receive a no obligation quote. 

What is paediatric first aid? 

Often referred to as first aid for children, paediatric first aid refers to the knowledge and skills required to provide first aid to young children, babies and infants. It is a two-day course and enables someone who completes the course successfully to be a certified paediatric first aider. The certification lasts for three years, after which the training will need to be completed again.  

What is covered during a paediatric first aid course? 

A first aid for children course will be taught across two days, with around six hours of training on each day. This is to ensure there is enough time to absorb all the information you are being taught, have enough time to watch demonstrations carried out by a trainer and to practice maneuvers yourself, as well as time to complete an examination at the end of the second day to secure your certification. 

  • On the St John Ambulance Cymru first aid for children course, the following topics are covered: 

  • Role and responsibilities of the paediatric first aider  

  • Incident management  

  • Accident/incident reporting  

  • Child/infant resuscitation including the use of an AED  

  • Child/infant choking  

  • Treating an unresponsive casualty  

  • Head injuries  

  • Bleeding  

  • Sprains, strains and fractures 

  • Burns and scalds 

  • Poisons 

  • Febrile convulsions (seizures) 

  • Recognition of childhood illness and injuries (e.g., meningitis and croup) 

  • Sickle cell anaemia 

  • Allergic reaction including anaphylaxis 

From this list, you can see how first aid for children differs from first aid for adults. Although there is of course overlap, children face unique first aid issues, which a course such as this addresses. Also, the way you perform CPR on a child will need to be different compared to how you would perform it on an adult, so it is important that if you may face a scenario where you need to perform it on an infant, then you need to know how to do it correctly. 

Who is responsible for regulating paediatric first aid courses in Wales? 

You will find that in the four UK countries, the standard setters are different when it comes to first aid for children. In Wales, The Welsh government publish the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare for children up to the age of 12 years. This document outlines the standards that will be used to determine whether child minding and day care settings are providing adequate care for children up to the age of twelve. The regulatory body that ensures that these standards are met is the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW). Published originally in 2016, it was updated most recently in May 2023. 

Within this document, the national minimum standards for paediatric first aid is set out for registered childcare and play settings. It specifies that a full paediatric first aid course must last for 12 hours across 2 days and cover the following topics in a face-to-face setting: 

• Help a baby or child who is suffering from anaphylactic shock.  

• Help a baby or child who has had an electric shock. 

• Help a baby or child who has burns or scalds. 

• Help a baby or child who has a suspected fracture.  

• Help a baby or child with head, neck or back injuries.  

• Help a baby or child who is suspected of being poisoned.  

• Help a baby or child with a foreign body in eyes, ears or nose. 

• Help a baby or child with an eye injury.  

• Help a baby or child with a bite or sting.  

• Help a baby or child who is suffering from the effects of extreme heat or cold.  

• Help a baby or child having: a diabetic emergency; an asthma attack; an allergic reaction; meningitis; and/or febrile convulsions.  

• Understand the role and responsibilities of the paediatric first aider (including appropriate contents of a first aid box and the need for recording accidents and incidents). 

• Be able to assess an emergency situation and prioritise what action to take.  

• Help a baby or child who is unresponsive and breathing normally.  

• Help a baby or child who is unresponsive and not breathing normally.  

• Help a baby or child who is having a seizure.  

• Help a baby or child who is choking.  

• Help a baby or child who is bleeding.  

• Help a baby or child who is suffering 

Who should take a paediatric first aid course? 

If you work in a professional environment with children, then there is a possibility that you will need to take a full paediatric first aid course. In approved childcare facilities, there must always be at least one staff member on site with a Paediatric First Aid certificate. Anyone who is the sole person in charge of children such as a childminder must also have this qualification. However, employers should consider the ratio of staff to children, and train additional employees should it be deemed helpful. 

Many childcare and play settings are keen to have as many staff as possible trained in first aid. Encouraging more staff to complete the full Paediatric First Aid course provides additional reassurance for parents/carers using the service and helps ensure that there is always suitably qualified staff available to cover if there are unplanned staff absences. 

If you are a parent, grandparent or guardian and are interested in being first aid ready in case a child in your care needs first aid support, then you may want to consider an Emergency Paediatric First Aid course. This training lasts only one day and will cover the most common childhood illnesses and injuries that you may face while looking after young children. 


If you work with young infants or children, then it’s very likely that you will need some form of training in Paediatric First Aid. When it comes to providing lifesaving first aid support for babies, infants or children, paediatric first aid training is a more suitable course than the standard first aid at work (FAWC) qualification. 

St John Ambulance Cymru holds paediatric first aid training courses across Wales. In the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare for children up to the age of 12 years, we are mentioned by name as an approved training provider, owing to our status as a Voluntary Aid Society (VAS), as we are acknowledged by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as one of the standard-setters for currently accepted first aid practice for first aid at work training courses. 

Send us an email for a no obligation discussion, or alternatively we’d love to hear from you over the phone by calling us on 0345 678 5646. 

Published September 11th 2023

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