Importance of First Aid for Preschool Teachers

Young children are inherently curious, especially as they explore the world around them and different tastes and textures by putting objects in their mouths. Young children have not developed a sense of danger and it is the responsibility of adults to ensure that children are not exposed to choking hazards and the importance of First Aid for Preschool Teachers.

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Choking hazards can be found in any environment whether at home, in the car, or at school and they come in many forms. The most common choking hazards in kids include:

  • Food
  • Small batteries
  • Safety pins
  • Legos and small toys
  • Balloons
  • Pen caps
  • Jewellery
  • Marbles, and more.

Choking on Food

The common causes of choking on food include:

  • Trying to swallow large food items or poorly chewed food
  • Eating while talking or laughing
  • Eating too fast
  • Walking, playing, or running with food or objects in the mouth

Food choking hazards in preschools include:

  • Uncooked or raw whole corn kernels
  • Uncut grape tomatoes, grapes, or cherries
  • Pieces of hard vegetables
  • Whole pieces of canned fruit
  • Whole or chopped nuts and seeds
  • Large chunks of heaped spoons of peanut, nut, and seed butter
  • Large or tough chunks of meat
  • Large chunks of cheese
  • Bones in either meat or fish
  • Whole beans
  • Cookies
  • Potato chips, popcorn, pretzels, etc.
  • Crackers or bread that contain seeds, pieces of nuts
  • Whole grain kernels
  • Round, hard candies
  • Fruit snack pieces
  • Chewing gum, and several others.

Another consideration in pre-schools is that children who have special needs and developmental disabilities are at a much higher risk of choking. Some medical conditions that can increase the likelihood of choking in children are:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Brain Injuries
  • Down Syndrome
  • Seizure disorders such as epilepsy
  • Dysphasia, and several others

Ways to prevent the risk of choking

Choking hazards in pre-schools can be reduced by:

  • Cooking and preparing food according to the child’s development
  • Avoiding small, sticky, or hard foods that could be difficult to chew and swallow
  • Ensuring that children sit upright while they eat
  • Using highchairs for children who cannot sit upright
  • Ensure that mealtimes are in a calm environment without disruptions
  • Always ensure that there is supervision during mealtimes
  • Ensure that there is adequate first aid in pre-schools by ensuring that staff have the necessary first aid training

Pre-schools should always be a haven for children of all ages, and this means that safety measures must be implemented to safeguard them. When parents research and evaluate pre-schools, they must ensure that all staff members are certified in infant CPR and that there is adequate supervision.

All pre-school staff must monitor areas that can be accessed by children and all activities must be monitored by trained staff.

First Aid Training

Requirements of first aid in pre-school

Children in pre-school are no strangers to the occasional bumps and bruises because they are extremely active. Young children who climb, explore, run, jump, and play make first aid in pre-schools a necessary factor.

First Aid Training

The importance of first aid training and infant CPR cannot be understated, and all childcare providers must be equipped with this. A child’s life can depend on a provider knowing how to handle an emergency efficiently and effectively.

First Aid Kits

Injuries are inevitable in the classroom and on the playground, despite the preventative measures that are in place. To ensure optimal development, children must explore, play, and learn by interacting with others and the world around them.

A well-stocked first aid kit is a priority in a pre-school, and it must be stocked with the required items to handle minor injuries and cases where CPR must be provided. The first aid kit must be placed in a conspicuous area where it is out of reach from children but easily accessible by adults.

As an additional measure, the first aid kit must be tightly sealed, and the contents must be organised in such a way that restocking is easy. Every first aid kit must be inspected regularly and there must be enough first aid kits proportional to the number of children in the pre-school.

The first aid kit must have an inventory list with the expiration dates on any medicine, when the items were last checked, and which items must be restocked.

Some recommended items for a first aid kit in a pre-school are:

  • An inventory list
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Signed emergency release forms for every child in the pre-school
  • First aid manual
  • Pen, pencil, and a notepad
  • Adhesive strip bandages
  • Sterile gauze squares
  • Rolled sterile gauze
  • Adhesive tape
  • Elastic wrap
  • Thermometer
  • Scissors, tweezers, and a needle
  • Triangular bandages
  • Safety pins
  • Disposable latex gloves (at least two pairs)
  • Rubber bulb syringe to rinse out wounds
  • Sterile eyewash
  • Clean cloth
  • Liquid hand soap
  • Cotton-tipped swabs
  • Antiseptic solution
  • Petroleum jelly or any other lubricant (for use when body parts are lodged in tight places)
  • Small plastic cups
  • Plastic bags for ice or a commercial cold pack
  • Plastic bags for biohazard materials such as blood and any other body fluids

First aid kits in pre-schools must be kept within the reach of adults in a conspicuous place in case an emergency occurs. Pre-schools must ensure that there is a first aid kit available for every classroom and that there is a first aid kit available for outdoor areas where kids play, allowing staff to address playground injuries quickly.

Importance on how to prevent choking in pre-schools

First aid is a skill that goes beyond the workplace, and it can be used in any given emergency to assist someone while waiting for medical services. First aid skills are valuable at home, at school, the workplace, and in public places.

Accidents happen even when there are stringent preventative measures in place. Pre-schools and schools are inherently known as areas where children are at high risk of injuries, which is why the importance of first aid in pre-school cannot be emphasised enough.

Ensuring that there is care in case of an emergency makes the school environment safer because it creates awareness. It also ensures that the right equipment is available to tend to minor injuries and to assist in serious injury to prevent further damage until help arrives.

The importance of first aid in pre-schools relates to the following factors.

It promotes the overall sense of safety

When staff have a working knowledge of first aid and emergency procedures, they tend to be more alert and cautious. They know what to look for and can anticipate more, allowing them to ensure that children are not vulnerable to specific injuries or accidents.

First aid creates an improved sense of safety, and it ensures that staff can manage incidents and accidents better.

Sports-related injuries can be tended to

Sports are one of the largest parts of kids’ lives and injuries are common during sporting activities and events. By ensuring that staff have first aid training, pre-schools can ensure that minor injuries can be treated, preventing them from becoming a major incident.

It also helps staff members manage emergencies more efficiently and promptly. It also helps them determine at which point emergency services should be notified and how to keep the child calm and secure until they arrive.

Allows for quick treatment to prevent further damage

First aid is initial assistance given to an individual and some injuries will be minor enough to be treated on the spot. Staff can easily treat injuries with simple methods such as cleaning and dressing a wound, removing a splinter, applying an ice pack, and so on.

It helps with effective emergency management

In instances, first aid can save lives but first aid is more than just that. When first aid is given to a person, it can reduce their recovery time and by preventing further injury, the first aider can save their patient from temporary or permanent disability.

First aid is not only about providing physical assistance but also emotional and mental reassurance. First aiders must assess the situation and keep the person calm to prevent further injury. It also entails managing the emergency, scene, and any onlookers while waiting for emergency services in the case of serious injuries.

First aid training will provide the individual with the confidence that they need to control the situation and to react methodologically.

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It helps to preserve life

Staff members who are equipped with first aid skills can handle emergencies, respond quickly, and apply the correct method of treatment which can save a life. Apart from the training that they receive, a first aider will be composed and confident in emergencies when it matters the most.

It provides children and parents peace of mind

Parents who have their children enrolled in a pre-school where all staff members have first aid will be more assured. If there are emergencies, they can rely on staff to handle emergencies promptly and efficiently.

First Aid in PreSchools

How to apply first aid in a pre-school

Some of the injuries that can occur in pre-schools can include some of the following:

  • Head injuries
  • Sprains
  • Fractures
  • Anaphylactic shock
  • Electric shock
  • Stings and bites
  • Nosebleeds
  • Poisoning
  • Choking
  • Objects lodged in noses and ears
  • Burns
  • Bleeding

What is the first thing to do in an emergency?

  • Staff members should call for help from others and start work quickly and calmly while continuously reassuring the child.
  • If the child is not visibly conscious, the child’s name must be called, and the staff member must tap them on the sole of their foot. If there is no response, the next step is to evaluate their breathing.
  • One hand must be placed on the child’s forehead and their head tilted back gently. Two fingers of the other hand can be used to tilt the chin upwards, and the staff member can place their cheek near their mouth, listening and feeling for breaths.
  • If there is no distinct breathing after ten seconds, the staff member must start resuscitation immediately. If there are other adults, emergency services must be called and if the staff member is alone, they must call emergency services after doing a minute of resuscitation.
  • If the child is breathing but they remain unconscious, the child should be placed in the recovery position and emergency services called.

Applying First Aid in Pre-Schools for children older than one year


  • Make sure that the child’s airway is open
  • Pinch the soft part of the nose, take a breath, and the first aider should place their lips over the child’s mouth, blowing gently into it for a second or long enough to see their chest rise. Allow for their chest to fall and do five of these rescue breaths.
  • Next, do 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths and another cycle of 30 compressions until help arrives or until the child regains consciousness.

Recovery position for children over a year

If the child is breathing but they remain unconscious, they must be placed in the recovery position as follows:

  • The child must be turned onto their side, the upper leg must be bent at the knee and placed on the ground so that the child is stabilised and will not roll onto their back.
  • The chin must be lifted forward to ensure that the airway remains open, and the child’s hand can be moved under their chin if necessary.


For sprains, the “RICE” treatment can be used:

  • Rest – by letting the child sit or lay down.
  • Ice – by applying an ice pack or a cold compress
  • Comfortable support can be given by wrapping the injured area with a layer of padding and a bandage
  • Elevate the affected area by raising it on pillows


Typical signs of a fracture include pain, swelling, bruising, deformity, or twisting of the limb. In severe cases, the bone may protrude through the skin. In cases where fractures have been identified, the following can be done:

  • Unless the child is in immediate danger they must not be moved. The child must be kept warm and emergency services must be summoned immediately along with their guardian or parents.
  • The broken bone must be secured by using strapping for a leg or a sling for an arm.
  • In cases where the bone is protruding through broken skin, the wound can be covered with a clean pad and pressure applied around the wound if it is bleeding without applying pressure to the bone.


If a child chokes on an object or piece of food, lean them forward and support them with one hand while applying five slaps to their back with the other hand. The child must be asked to open their mouth so that the first aider can check for any obvious obstructions.

If the obstruction does not dislodge after slapping the child’s back, the first aider can try up to five abdominal thrusts. If this does not work, emergency services must be summoned.

Head Injuries

If a child bumps their head, an ice pack can be applied unless there are signs of a concussion, in which case medical services must be summoned. If the child sustains a wound that is bleeding and which is deeper than a superficial cut, it may require medical attention.

Anaphylactic shock

Parents must ensure that the pre-school is aware of any allergies, whether to food, bugs, medicine, or anything else. The parent must ensure that the child always has an adrenaline injector with them so that it can be administered if the child goes into anaphylactic shock.

Electric shock

If a child is exposed to electric shock, they must not be touched, and the power must be turned off immediately. If the child is unconscious, it must be confirmed whether they are breathing. If they are breathing, they must be placed in the recovery position and an ambulance deployed.

If the child is not breathing, resuscitation must be started, and emergency services deployed.

Bites and Stings

If a child has been stung and the stinger is still lodged, it must be removed by scraping it sideways with a fingernail or the blunt side of a knife. The arm must be kept raised and an ice pack applied.

If any signs of anaphylactic shock are identified, emergency services must be deployed.


The child must be sat down, and their head leaned forward. Next, the child can pinch the soft part of their nose, or the first aider can do this for them. The area must remain pinched for at least ten minutes and the procedure repeated more than once if needed. If the bleeding does not stop, emergency services must be called.


If poisoning is suspected, an ambulance must be called immediately, and the source of poisoning located. If the child vomits while waiting for an ambulance, a sample must be collected and taken to the hospital.

If the child is unconscious and not breathing, resuscitation must be started immediately.

Objects lodged in the ear or nose

The object must not be removed if there is a risk of pushing it in further or if it could injure the child further. Medical attention must be sought, and the child kept calm while doing so.


In cases where it is a minor cut, the wound must be cleaned by gently rinsing it under running water, patting it dry and dressing the wound with a plaster. If the wound is too large and deep for plaster, the first aider can use a sterile dressing and packing to stop the bleeding.

If there is something embedded in the wound such as glass, do not remove it. The bleeding should be reduced by applying pressure around the wound and taking the child to the hospital.


The affected area can be placed under cold water for at least ten minutes to cool the area down and reduce pain and swelling. Once the burn is cool, the burn can be covered gently and the child must be taken to the nearest emergency facility to be evaluated.


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Posted date: 6th May 2022
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