Tips on Handling First Aid Anxiety

Updated on May 14, 2010
M.W. asks from Nampa, ID
9 answers

Hi Moms,

I have 3 little kids and am a military spouse, so my husband is often gone. Whenever there is a first aid minor problem (worse than needing a little bandaid), I freak out. I cry or think I have to race around the house. The sight of a lot of blood doesn't make me pass out and I am not in a full panic attack or anything, but I cannot calmly look at the injury and take care of it. Instead I get into the "OMG! I have to rush to the hospital!" or overreact in a similar way. My dog accidentally bit my daughter's finger the other day and I had to shove her over to my husband and hide my face while he held pressure on her finger and then only had to put a bandaid on it.

How can I teach myself to calm down for unexpected things like that? I need some advice. BTW, I know how to calm myself down and destress in general, but specifically for first aid situations, I lose it.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you for all of your wonderful advice. I have let my First Aid/CPR training expire and should retake the class. Also, I will try and imagine situations and how I will handle them beforehand. Try pausing and deep breathing, and focus on comforting, rather than medical only.

Featured Answers



answers from Chicago on

Watch more doctor type shows like trauma life in the ER these will show you that there are way worse accidents out there to get freaked out about and that sometimes you really have to "suck it up" and be the mom and remain calm. Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Salt Lake City on

I agree with Cindy G. Take CPR. Your base or military instillation should have free classes through the family readiness (or equivalent). I think being prepared for the situations as they come up will go a long way to help you through these situations. Also for me, I know when my husband is home I turn things like this over to him out of a survival mode for myself. I do it alone so much that when he is home I shut down a little bit. It's normal. We go into fight or flight mode when these situations come up and it sounds like you go into a bit of both. :) a great way is to visualize the situation, what should you do, how to breathe through it and remain calm. I deal with a panic disorder and the way to function through a panic attack is the same way to get through these types of situations, you have to slow your mind down, take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, count to 10 out loud is best as hearing your voice will help keep you grounded. I know that knowing the things that trigger my panic attacks help me through them when they come up. I can prepare, I can visualize the situation, and myself breathing through it, getting through it. I "freak out" in my own way as a military wife. we have 2 dogs and an alarm system so that I know even when my husband is gone, we are protected and safe. I sleep with my cell phone under my pillow...fully charged. We all have the things that are hard for us in being parents, so first off give yourself credit for what you are doing and good job in asking for help with something you feel you can do better. Check out the CPR classes on the base though. I know that knowing I'm certified helps me realize that I do know what to do, and that I can handle it if the situation comes up, and that when my husband is home, its okay to pass it off to him. Hugs.


answers from Jacksonville on

Try to visualize something like that happening right now. NOW, stop and think to yourself... MY reaction is going to affect my child's reaction to this. No matter HOW bad it looks or how scary it is or how serious the long term repercussions might be to this injury... it will be WORSE if I send frightened signals to my child. Take a deep breath and just slow down.
Remind yourself that you MUST deal with the situation, and it can be hard or harder. The hard way you deal with it without getting hysterical. The harder way, you freak out and cause everyone to freak out in the process. Be the calm comfort your child needs. Imagine yourself as a nurse triaging your child at the ER... very matter of fact... "I know it hurts, but let mommy look at it." in a calm voice. Rinse with plain water under the faucet running slow (if it's feasible).... the sound of the water is distracting and soothing at the same time. And will give you a chance to think. Very few incidents around the home require immediate emergency care. Most need mom to comfort more than anything else in the first moments. You can DO that!! You're a pro at that! right? So do that. And give yourself a moment while you are doing that comforting to think of a logical course of action. Is it a cut?... rinse. Then decide if it might need stitches or just a band-aid. Is it a burn?.... cool running water is soothing. Or even a bowl of cool water, together with some tylenol. etc etc... comfort them and think what the priority of treatment might be.
I hope this helps.
I am the opposite. I go into almost complete disassociation/clinical mode. THEN, when I finally make a decision about getting ER treatment, I get really stressed about how to make the logistics work with everything else that is going on in the house (dinner, homework, picking up another child from activities, the dog, the playmate that is there, whether they'll be able to go to school tomorrow, etc etc etc).

Good luck. Not everyone is cut out to be a triage nurse. But you ARE cut out to be a great mommy, and that is the biggest part of accidental injury care at home. Be your child's "rock". :)



answers from Salt Lake City on

Does the Red Cross offer first aid certification courses in your area? It's been years ago now, but I took one as a teen and think it contributed to my being able to handle both large and small first aid crises now. (I DO have issues with blood, but have managed to teach myself to handle the emergency first, get woozy and throw up afterward.) Being trained in what to do can give you the mental resources to draw on to deal with emergencies when they arise. As a military spouse with kids, you know that it is very important that you learn how to do this because your spouse may not be there when things happen.

Also, in some areas hospitals (and bases) have emergency drills so that their personnel can practice what to do. They often need volunteer "victims" and "role-players" to help with the drill. Would participating in such a drill, in an artificial emergency environment, help you learn to manage the stress of a medical emergency? You'd get to see how the pros do it, plus you'd be providing a community service.



answers from Salt Lake City on

You need to get a book on EFT. I found several on Amazon. This is a certain technique you use to deal with anxiety in a calm way. My experience with it was amazing. I had a serious anxiety about heights. I had to fix my roof and had to get on top to fix it. As my anxiety level hit #10 I knew I had to do something. After doing the technique described, I was able to get the work done I needed to do without any anxiety. Seeing your children hurt also brings on anxiety to you, but it would be best for them not to see you freak out. What they see you do, is how they will respond as well, when they get into a similar situation. You will save a lot of money by getting the books, and forget about going to any doctor. It works!



answers from Denver on

Maybe you should take one of the free first aid classes that Red Cross and others offer. If you feel knowledgable in the situation, maybe you can keep your calm better. Injuries with our kiddos can be scary, but if you take one of those classes, maybe training will kick in and you'll go into first aid mode.



answers from Grand Junction on

when something unexpected happens, first, assess that it is NOT life threatening, then walk away for 5 minutes to collect yourself. when you return, try distracting the kids while you take care of the injury/cut, i have mine sing the abc's or another song they know while i'm cleaning and covering, this will help distract u too. good luck



answers from Davenport on

If you haven't already....I would take CPR and First Aid from the American Red Cross or whatever program you have in your area. You have to renew it every year. I think that will help you stay a little calmer having that background.



answers from Boise on

Teaching yourself how to "chill" in the moment is a wonderful thing. Mindfullness is a fancy term for ways to distract yourself and relax until after the fact. I would suggest each time you are in a situation in which you would normally freak out, do a breathing exercise or something similar. I like 4 by 4 breathing; take a deep breath in for four seconds, then exhale for four seconds, four times in a row. There are lots of other techniques like that, where you can learn to calm yourself down and then freak out after if you still want to.

I also agree with the others that CPR and first aid training would probably be good.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions