I first attended a St John’s Ambulance Babies and Children’s First Aid course shortly after the birth of my daughter and have used it many, many times.
Childminders have to be First Aid Trained and I certainly think one of each couple should be too, especially, if you have small children. I always recommend new parents to attend even a short half a day course. Knowing what to do should a child be choking is vital as you have to act quickly.
If you know what to do in an emergency, it can stop you going into a state of panic – but more importantly you may just save the life of a loved one, or at least help somebody until an ambulance arrives. We have all seen the FAST campaign by the Stroke Association and how timing of getting help is of the essence. If you are on your own attending somebody with an injury apart from first calling the emergency services always try to call for help to be with you too.
Statistics show that more accidents happen in the home than on the road and falling over is number one on that list. I know of several people, of all ages, who have tripped down the stairs whilst carrying the laundry, so make sure you don’t have large towels or sheets dangling around your feet. I think most parents will agree most accidents happen at bedtime when children are tired. It really comes down to common sense and thinking preventative rather than cure, especially if you live alone.
The second most common accident in home for children is scalding from hot drinks (over 100 per day taken to A & E with bad scalds).
Poisoning of children from household cleaning material is third most common. If you have small children or visiting grandchildren you must make the environment safe i.e. locking away cleaning materials mainly kept in the kitchen, but many people forget about the toilet cleaner in the bathroom and easily accessible to little hands.
It is important to attend refresher courses as advice does change and I was fortunate enough to do so recently. I was startled to learn that approximately only 20% of people in the UK are First Aid trained, whereas in many other countries, all school children receive training and defibrillators are in many schools and public places.
I would like to see this imbalance addressed in our country too, but understand that some shopping centres and stores such as M & S actually have defibrillators. My Daughter’s school, has a defibrillator, and if your child’s school has yet to invest in one then perhaps this is an excellent item to start fundraising for!
As recent TV campaign adverts have shown, in the case of somebody who has stopped breathing, the focus is now on compression to the chest rather than mouth-to-mouth – though both can still be used. i.e., two large breaths into the mouth followed by thirty compressions and repeated until medical help arrives. My trainer Steve Roy of Community First spoke of an example where somebody wasn’t First Aid trained but did save a young boy’s life by applying chest compressions.
Additionally if you have a First Aid box at home, you should replenish stock on a regular basis and check the dates on sterile dressings are current. Nowadays the dressings are attached to a bandage which makes application far easier too.
There is also a free First Aid App that can be downloaded onto Smartphones from St John’s Ambulance & British Red Cross.
I hope I have whetted a few appetites to explore and attend the many available courses. For a small investment versus a potential life saved, it’s well worth it.