Standard First Aid Training, Courses and Re-Certifications.
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Head to Toe Examinations

Candidate in enrolled in standard first aid course will learn to do a head-to-toe examination. Rescuers do this examination to determine whether there are other injuries or complicating factors to the emergency. The following is a detailed description of a head-to-toe examination that a candidate of  a workplace approved standard first aid class or re-certification is required to perform:

Self Protection Must be Applied

It is important for rescuers to have a personal safety assessment prior to performing a head-to-toe examination. Disposable gloves should be worn and rescuers should take preventative measures to prevent any cross-contamination by washing hands with warm water and soap for at least 1 minute. Dry your hands thoroughly afterwards. The material posted on this page is for information purposes only. Take a standard first aid course to receive hands on training on how to do a head-to-toe check.

Rescuer must assess:

The Scalp for:

  • Bumps
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Bruises

The Nose and Mouth for

Adult and Infant CPR Mannequin

Candidates should practise head to toe checks initially on CPR mannequins.

  • Breathing – quality
  • Odours – alcoholic and poisonous
  • Blood and other fluids

The Eyes for

  • Pupils – equal and reactive to light (PEARL)
  • Bruising around eyes

The Ears for

  • Fluids – blood, etc.
  • Bruises

Neck and Base of Skull for

  • Bumps
  • Bruises
  • Identification tags – necklaces

Collarbone and Shoulders for

  • Bruises
  • Bumps
  • Symmetry (with opposing side)

Ribs for:

  • Ability to expand and contract lungs
  • Bruises
  • Bumps
  • Symmetry

Abdomen for:

  • Rigidity
  • Bruising
  • Distension
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

Arms for:

  • Bruises
  • Bumps
  • Symmetry

Wrists for:

  • Identification (bracelets or medical alert tags)
  • Bruises
  • Bumps
  • Symmetry

Hands for:

  • Bruises
  • Bumps
  • Symmetry
  • Reaction to pain

Spine for:

  • Bruises
  • Bumps
  • Swelling

Pelvis for:

  • Symmetry
  • Stability

Groin For:

  • Bladder control
  • Bleeding

Fingers for:

  • Return of blood to fingers after squeezing (capillary reaction)
  • Bruises
  • Bumps and swelling
  • Temperature
  • Colour
  • Moisture

Legs for:

  • Bruises
  • Bumps
  • Symmetry
  • Range of Motion
  • Ability to Move

Toes for:

  • Capillary reaction (return of blood when squeezed)
  • Bruises
  • Temperature
  • Swelling

Feet for:

  • Reaction to Pain
  • Strength
  • Range of motion
  • Identification (medical information)
  • Symmetry
  • Colour
  • Temperature

Whether in a full first aid course or a re-certification course candidates must know how to complete a head-to-toe examination in a standard first aid course. It is a essential part of the secondary survey and victim assessment. It gives the rescuer a better understanding of the emergency regardless if the victim is conscious or unconscious. Register for a first aid course today and learn to do head-to-toe examinations. The material posted on this page is for information purposes only, take a workplace approved standard first aid course to learn first aid.