Wednesday 13 April 2011

In an Emergency - would you know what to do?

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
b. towel
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?


  1. First aid is a really useful skill to have. I did basic FA training years ago! Luckily Husband has a FA certificate so I got him to refresh me when I had Wee Z.

  2. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for your comment, I think you're whole outlook completely changes when you have kids. Makes the dangers in the world seem so much more real. I'm so glad I've done this course, and hope others will look into it too x

  3. This is definatley something I need to do, and something you hope you never have to use!
    I have a new Sure Start center opening at Ruby's School I will enquire into course's. You have also given me an idea to invite some trainers to an event I am doing in the summer so thank you!

    Justine x

  4. I think First Aid should be taught in schools.
    I'm 33 and have had to give CPR twice in my life....both times I was the only one who knew what to do as I've been a qualified FA since I was about 8 years old!
    As first aid on babies can be different to adults the government should ensure that all new mums and dads are trained to deal with baby emergencies.
    Great post :)

    Kerry x

  5. according to me, first aid training book should be included in the syllabus of education.

  6. The last time I did a First Aid course it was the baby & child course, though that was a good 10 years ago. According to New Boss, I'll get the chance to do it through work soon, hope so.

  7. Absolutely agree with you - first aid skills are extremely important. Basic first aid knowledge can save a life sometimes.
    We've started a blog about first aid and emergency preparedness.
    You are welcome.

  8. Great post. When I was cabin crew we had very comprehensive first aid training in aviation medicine. As well as basic first aid we had to learn how to operate a de-fib machine and deliver a baby!! Before each flight we had to demonstrate our skills and knowledge and each year we had to re-sit the exam. Now if anyone has a medical episode I'm your woman, BUT if it was one of my kids that needed first aid I'm sure I would just panic and go to pieces. Jude x

  9. Great post, Liz. Me and Lisa from House of Baby went on a first aid course focussed on babies and pregnant women and it made me realise that it should really be manditory. I was almost ashamed at what little I knew before :(