Emergency advice

Severely bleeding baby:

  1. Apply direct pressure to the wound.
  2. Call 999.
  3. Secure the dressing.
  4. Treat for shock.
  5. Support the injury.

When bleeding is severe, it can be dramatic and distressing, but it is important that the wound is dealt with quickly.

Your priority is to stop the bleeding and get help.

What to do

  1. Severe bleeding first aid - wear gloves to prevent infection

    With open wounds, there’s a risk of infection, so wear protective first aid gloves (if available) to help prevent any infection passing between you and the baby.  Do not delay treatment if you cannot find gloves.

  2. Baby severe bleed first aid - apply direct pressure to the wound

    Apply direct pressure to the wound using a sterile dressing if possible or a clean non-fluffy cloth, to stop the bleeding.

    • If the wound is covered by the baby’s clothing, uncover it by removing or cutting the clothes.
    • If there’s an object in the wound, don’t pull it out. It may be acting as a plug to reduce the bleeding. Instead apply pressure on either side of the object to push the edges together.
  3. Calling for help

    Ask a helper to call 999 or 112 for emergency help and give ambulance control details of where the wound is and the extent of the bleeding.

    • If you are on your own, use the hands-free speaker on a phone so that you can treat while speaking to ambulance control.
  4. Baby severe bleed first aid - firmly secure the dressing with a bandage

    Firmly secure the dressing with a bandage to maintain pressure on the wound. Make it firm enough to maintain pressure but not so tight that it restricts their circulation.

  5. Baby severe bleed first aid - check their circulation beyond the bandage

    Check their circulation beyond the bandage. Press one of the nails or the skin beyond the bandage for five seconds until it turns pale, then release the pressure. If the colour does not return within two seconds, the bandage is too tight. If necessary, loosen and reapply the bandage.

  6. Baby severe bleed first aid - if blood seeps through both dressings, remove and replace with fresh dressing

    If blood comes through the dressing, remove the dressing and replace it and reapply pressure with a new dressing or pad to control the bleeding. Once the bleed is under control, secure in place with the bandage, tying the knot over the wound to keep the pressure on.

    If there is an object in the wound, do not apply a dressing over the top.  Maintain pressure as above and seek advice from the ambulance call handler.

  7. First aid - cradle your baby with the head tilted downwards

    The loss of blood could cause the baby to develop shock. Treat them for shock by loosening any tight clothing around their chest or waist. Keep them warm by covering their body and legs with a blanket. 

  8. Baby first aid - perform a primary survey and monitor their response

    Keep monitoring their level of response until help arrives. If they become unresponsive at any point, carry out a primary survey, and prepare to start baby CPR.

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Related first aid advice

How to do a baby primary survey

The primary survey is a quick way to find out how to treat any life threating conditions a baby may have using DRABC. Learn what to do.

How to do CPR on a baby (under one year old)

If a baby is not responding to you and not breathing normally, you will need to call 999 or 112 for emergency help and start CPR straight away. Learn what to do.

How to apply a dressing

When you have a wound, you should always cover it with a dressing as this can help to prevent infection. Find out what to do.

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