Today I attended a half-day training course on emergency first aid for babies and children. I hadn't even realised until Parental Circle pointed it out, but this week is National First Aid Awareness Week.
Although quite a long time ago now, I did complete a four-day Appointed Person course, and it was great to see that I hadn't forgotten it (it was probably going on for 10 years ago). That said, a lot of the regulation and advice has now changed, and being a first aid at work course it focused mainly on adults.
As a parent now I was very keen to learn the different techniques applied to babies and children (particularly in choking incidents and resuscitation). I've been trying to get on a course for ages, but one has never come up at the right time and place. I was certain that if anything ever happened to my child, then I'd go into panic mode. Refreshing this skill is important, because the more you practice, the more likely that your learned knowledge will kick in.
I think that basic first aid is an essential skill. I think everyone should learn and be equipped to sustain life in the event of an emergency. Try out these quick questions and see how you do...
1. If a person stops breathing, how long without oxygen will it be before brain cells start dying:
a. 3 - 4 minutes
b. 5 - 6 minutes
c. 1 - 2 minutes
d. 7 - 8 minutes
2. If you find a person collapsed on the floor, what should you do first?
a. check for a pulse
b. check they are breathing
c. call an ambulance
d. check it is safe
3. In an emergency, what would be the best thing to use on a severe burn?
a. padded dressing
c. cling film
d. kitchen roll
4. What is the recommended cycle for resuscitation of an adult?
a. 10 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths
b. 20 chest compressions and 5 rescue breaths
c. 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths
d. 20 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths.
See below for the suggested answers:
1. a; 2. d; 3. c and 4. c. How did you do??
The course I attended, although basic, did give me confidence and a good general understanding. God forbid, but if my toddler was now choking or stopped breathing, I would know what to do. The training was very straightforward, there was lots of practical sessions using resuscitation dummies; and through repetition, the correct sequence of events should hopefully embed firmly on my brain.
One fact about my training group startled me. There were 9 delegates on the session - all mums. Of those 9 mums, 2 had experienced their babies stop breathing. Thankfully their children are all now fit and well, but it made me realise that it's much more common than I'd thought.
My course was run by a local charity, and offered free of charge at our local Sure Start Centres. I recommend that if you have a centre nearby, you register your interest and get them to mail you when they have courses coming up. There are many other organisations and charities who run courses specifically aimed at parents, including the Tesco's BabySafe Course (follow them on Twitter); The British Red Cross and St John Ambulance.
I urge you, if you do one thing this week - find out about a local first aid course. What better time to learn how to save a life than during First Aid Awareness Week?