Let's face it, kids have a natural inclination to play and be physical, which when you really get down to it, is how it should be. Coupled with a nutritious diet, being active is an important part of a healthy childhood, and parents should encourage kids to get up off the couch move around.

However, as every parent knows, accidents happen. While we would like to avoid them whenever possible, kids will incur a few bumps and bruises whether they are at play or simply going about their daily lives. Accidents are a part of life.

That is why it is important to be prepared when they occur. There are several first aid skills that every parent can learn that will help provide comfort and healing for their families. It is important for parents to exercise a little common sense and know the difference between a minor injury and a more serious situation, at which point they should call their doctor or 911.

1. Shallow Cuts and Abrasions

When minor cuts occurs, clean injured area with soap and water then apply gentle pressure until bleeding stops. A sterile bandage can be used to cover the wound.

When to Seek Help

If blood flow is significant (spurts) and doesn't stop; if the wound is jagged or deep (¼ inch or more); if you see fat or muscle tissue; if the wound was caused by something dirty or rusty; the wound is caused by an animal or human bite; wound feels numb.

2. Sprains

Apply the RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate) method. Rest injured area, using a sling or splint. Keep weight off of ankle or leg. Apply ice for 20 minutes every hour, using a cloth to prevent direct contact. Wrap the injured area (not too tightly) with an elastic bandage or brace to compress the joint or limb. Elevate the injured area.

When to Seek Help

It is a good idea to see a doctor after any sprain to evaluate the injury, especially if there is numbness, significant swelling, fever, nausea, open wounds, or excessive pain. See a doctor if injured joint is immoveable or buckles when used.

3. Nosebleeds

Sit up straight, lean head forward (leaning back will cause swallowing of blood), and pinch nose for 10 full minutes until bleeding has stopped. Spit out blood as it may cause vomiting.

When to Seek Help

When blood flow is excessive and will not stop, seek medical help. If nosebleeds are frequent, consult with your doctor to seek out the cause and preventative measures. See a doctor if bleeding was the result of a severe trauma to the head.

4. Choking

If choking occurs, immediately call 911. While waiting, firmly strike the choking person 5 times between their should blades with the heel of your hand. If they are still choking, apply 5 abdominal thrusts until obstructing object is released or they begin breathing again. Repeat process until airway is cleared. If person is pregnant or obese, use high abdominal thrusts. If after the object is coughed up the person is still not breathing, apply CPR.

5. Insect Bites and Stings

Usually not serious, bite/stings can be treated with a cold compress. If the skin is broken, wash with soap and water but do not apply first aid creams or ointments. If itching occurs, try to avoid scratching. In the event of a severe allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention.

When to Seek Help

If a serious allergic reaction occurs, call 911. Symptoms include a full body rash, difficulty breathing, chest pain or cramps, dizziness, nausea, wheezing, or rapid heartbeat.

6. Poisoning

Poisoning is serious stuff, and parents should know that not all poisoning cases are treated the same way. Keep the Poison Control Center number (800-222-1222) by every phone and on your smartphone and call it in the event of any poisoning. Try to determine what poison was taken and follow the instructions of the Poison Control Center.

7. CPR

CPR is a good skill to learn. The recommendations have changed, so it is advisable to take a contemporary course. You can learn more through your local recreation center or the Red Cross.

8. Diarrhea and Vomiting

The biggest concern is dehydration, so learn to recognize its symptoms and keep giving fluids. Babies that are breastfed should continue to get breast milk, while babies that are given formula should be given a lactose-free alternative. Oral rehydration solution (ORS) may be recommended for 12-24 hours. Older children can be given an ORS with the proper amount of electrolytes.

When to Seek Help

In a child who's less than 6 years old, take them to the doctor if vomiting lasts more than a few hours. For children over 6 years old, if it lasts more than a day. Seek immediate care if there is blood in the vomit, the child has severe headaches or neck stiffness, lethargy or confusion, severe abdominal pains, or diarrhea and vomiting happen together.

9. Burns

For minor burns (pain and redness), cool the injured area with cool (not cold) running water for 10-15 minutes, until the pain lessens. Do not use ice. Cover burn with a sterile bandage and give mild pain medication (aspirin, Tylenol) if necessary.

When to Seek Help

Major burns result in blisters and severe pain or swelling and should be treated by a doctor. If burned area is large (>3 inches) or damages deeper layers of tissue or affects hands, feet, face, buttocks, groin, or major joints, get immediate medical help.

10. Shock

Shock can be life threatening, so taking action in a timely manner is important. Symptoms include cool clammy skin, weak pulse, low blood pressure and irregular breathing, nausea, blank facial expression, faintness, or unconsciousness.

If you suspect someone is in shock, call 911 and lay person down on their back with their feet elevated. If necessary, apply CPR. Keep person warm and comfortable until help arrives. Do not give anything orally

Knowing basic first aid skills does not require becoming a trained professional, but being comfortable and familiar with certain techniques may go a long way in reducing the pain and suffering from an injury and may even save a life.

If you have questions or concerns, talk to your doctor. For more information about first aid and CPR, visit WebMD or The American Red Cross.