Handling Emergencies: First Aid for Unconscious Adults and Infants

Learn first aid skills, from CPR to handling emergencies effectively.



Understanding what constitutes a first aid emergency is crucial, as it helps individuals recognise when they need to take prompt action to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

Knowing how to handle emergencies can potentially save lives and minimise the impact of the situation. It’s essential to be prepared and equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to respond effectively and efficiently during critical moments by completing first aid training. This includes knowing how to administer first aid, perform CPR or safely evacuate a building.

We’ll delve into the importance of being prepared and highlight the key skills and knowledge that can help you effectively handle emergencies. We’ll also discuss the significance of having emergency plans in place, providing practical tips on how to create and implement them.

Assessing the Situation

Look before you leap - assess the situation before taking any action. This involves taking a step back - perhaps even physically - and analysing the situation at hand. It’s important to stay calm and composed during this process: panic can cloud judgement and lead to poor decision-making. A common and flexible method is counting down from 10 while taking deep breaths.

Assessing the situation involves identifying the problem, evaluating the risks and potential consequences and determining the best course of action while considering all possible options and outcomes. During this stage try to gather as much information as possible before making a decision, which may involve asking questions, observing the situation and seeking advice from others. Once all the information has been gathered, evaluate the risks and potential consequences of each possible course of action.

Finally, if the situation is beyond your control or expertise: call for help. This may involve contacting emergency services or seeking assistance from a trained professional.

First Aid for Unconscious Adults

If an adult is unconscious, it is crucial to check for responsiveness to determine the severity of the situation.

  • Gently tap the person's shoulder and ask loudly: “Are you okay?”

  • If there’s no response to either interaction and the person is listless or showing other signs of injury, immediately call for emergency medical assistance.

  • If the person is not breathing, prompt action is required to ensure their survival. Begin by tilting the person's head back slightly and lifting their chin to open the airway.

  • Look, listen, and feel for any signs of breathing for about 10 seconds, but don’t become too fixated on this, if they are not breathing time is against you and you will need to perform CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) immediately.

  • To perform CPR, place the heel of one hand in the centre of the person's chest, between the nipples.

  • Place the other hand on top of the first hand and interlock the fingers.

  • Keep your elbows straight and position your shoulders directly above your hands.

  • Push down hard and fast, aiming for a depth of about 5 cm (2 inches).

  • Perform 30 chest compressions at a rate of approximately 100-120 compressions per minute.

  • After the compressions, give two rescue breaths by tilting the person's head back, lifting their chin, and pinching their nose. There are many methods for maintaining this speed, but many prefer simply singing a song with the same BPM to keep time, the most popular song is ‘Stayin’ Alive’ by the Bee Gees.

  • Take a normal breath, cover the person's mouth with yours, and give a breath that makes the chest rise, and once the chest doesn’t rise any further cease blowing and allow the chest to fall.

  • Repeat the cycle of 30 compressions and two rescue breaths until emergency medical help arrives, or the person starts breathing on their own.

First Aid for Unconscious Infants

In the event of an unconscious infant, there are some modifications that need to be made to the above method.

  • Check for responsiveness by gently tapping the infant's foot or shoulder and calling their name. If there’s no response, try to stimulate the infant by rubbing their chest or tickling their feet. If there is still no response, it is important to call for emergency medical services immediately.

  • If you can confirm the infant is not breathing, start CPR immediately.

  • Place the infant on a firm surface and tilt their head back slightly to open their airway.

  • Pinch the infant's nose and give two gentle breaths into their mouth. If the infant's chest doesn’t rise, carefully reposition the head and try again.

  • After giving two breaths, check for a pulse. If there’s no pulse, begin chest compressions.

  • When giving chest compressions to infants CPR is only slightly different. Instead of using two hands, scale down. Place just two fingers in the centre of the infant's breastbone and give 30 compressions followed by two breaths. Similarly, for older children, you can use one hand.

  • Continue this cycle of 30 compressions and 2 rescue breaths until emergency medical services arrive or the infant begins to breathe on their own.

It is important to note that CPR for infants is different from CPR for adults. It is crucial to receive proper training in infant CPR by gaining a first aid certificate Adelaide before attempting it in an emergency. Also, always call for emergency medical services as soon as possible in case of an unconscious infant.

Other Emergency Situations to be Prepared For

Being prepared for emergencies that may arise unexpectedly is an indispensable skill you can learn not only for yourself, but for others.

  • Choking can occur when a person's airway is blocked by food or other objects. Through first aid courses or online resources, you can learn how to perform the proper techniques used to dislodge the object and restore breathing.

  • Seizures can be caused by a variety of factors like epilepsy or head injuries. Brush up on methods to keep the person safe during the seizure by removing any nearby objects that could cause harm and cushioning their head. After the seizure, monitor the person and seek medical attention if necessary.

  • Burns can occur from exposure to fire, extreme heat, chemicals, or even electricity. It’s useful to learn how to properly treat burns by cooling the affected area with water and covering it with a sterile bandage. However, in cases of severe burns, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

  • Lastly, allergic reactions can occur from exposure to certain foods, medications, or insect bites. A first aid course can teach you asthma attack first aid like how to recognise the symptoms of an allergic reaction. This can look like difficulty breathing or swelling of the face and throat, the most common response is to have an epinephrine auto-injector on hand if necessary ideally, but for more advanced methods seek out a first aid course.

Final Thoughts

Being prepared and equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to handle emergencies can potentially save lives and minimise the impact of an emergency. From assessing the situation to administering first aid, performing CPR, and addressing asthma attacks, it is essential to be prepared and have emergency plans in place. By completing first aid training, you can gain the skills and confidence you need to respond decisively during critical moments. Remember, always call for emergency medical assistance when necessary, and stay calm and composed during the process.


Contact Info:

Name: George Logan

Email: Send Email

Organisation: FirstAid Pro

Website: https://www.firstaidpro.com.au/

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