Preparing for Emergencies

First Aid

Babies and young children are extremely vulnerable to accidents. They are too young to assess safety risks… they lack coordination and balance… and they need to explore and learn about the world around them. The main causes of injuries in the home are falls, burns, and poisoning.

It’s a fact of life that emergencies happen. However, you can be prepared so that you—or someone else—can act quickly, rather than having to search for information or supplies when action is needed.

First Aid Kits

A family First Aid kit is your first defense when accidents occur. Be ready for emergencies by preparing First Aid kits in advance. That way, if an emergency happens, you will have everything you need at hand.

  • Keep a First Aid kit in your home and one in each car. Keep them out of reach of children.
  • Bring a First Aid kit on family outings and extra prescription medication on vacations.
  • Check your kits every spring.
  • Replace any used or expired items promptly.
  • Read the First Aid manual and review it with the whole family before there’s an emergency.
What Goes in a First Aid Kit?


  • antiseptic (wipes or solution such as hydrogen peroxide)
  • antibiotic ointment
  • antihistamine
  • anti-diarrhea medication
  • calamine lotion
  • pain reliever (ibuprofen or acetaminophen—never give Aspirin to children).


  • bandages (many different kinds and sizes)
  • instant cold packs
  • First Aid manual
  • sterile gauze (pads and roll)
  • disposable gloves
  • mouthpiece for giving CPR (available from the Red Cross)
  • safety pins
  • scissors, tweezers, and a needle
  • soap or hand sanitizer
  • thermometer.

Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

  • Every parent should know how and when to administer CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation). CPR can save a baby’s life by restoring breathing and circulation until emergency medical help arrives on the scene.
  • CPR classes are offered at many hospitals, fire stations, and parenting classes. Check with the Red Cross for locations.


  • Medication causes an estimated 67% of poisonings in children. Even small amounts of adult medication can be fatal to a child.
  • Household cleaners and personal care products (mouthwash, nail polish) and other household products can also poison children.

If you think your child may have swallowed something harmful, call the poison information centre or dial 911.

Emergency Contact Numbers

  • Fill out the Emergency Contact sheet at the back of this guide.
  • Put a copy by every phone in your house and inside your First Aid kits.
  • Give a Copy to anyone who may be caring for your child.

To Learn More…

Canadian Red Cross:
The Hospital for Sick Children: