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.

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.

  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. First aid - call 999 or 112 for emergency 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 bleeding shows through the pad or dressing, don’t remove it and apply a second dressing on top of the first. If blood seeps through both dressings, remove both and replace with a fresh dressing. When changing dressings, keep pressure applied to where the bleeding is coming from.

  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. Cradle them and support their legs.

  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, prepare to start baby CPR.

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