I will never forget the panic I felt when my year-old daughter grabbed a chunk of watermelon from her older brother’s plate, shoved it in her mouth, and promptly began to choke. I hadn’t been trained in first aid since I was in the Brownies many moons ago, but thankfully instinct took over and a few whacks on the back later the melon dislodged itself and her breathing went back to normal.
It was a very frightening experience for both of us, so a few weeks later when my Health Visitor told me about a new pediatric first aid course, I was first to sign up.
Head in the Sand
When you become a parent you spend ages doing things like researching the best, safest car seat and stressing about the temperature in the bedroom because you’ve read all about cot death. Car crashes and cot deaths are thankfully pretty unusual, but we spend all our time worrying about the out of the ordinary rather than confronting the things which are much more likely to happen, like burns, scalds, choking, trips and cuts.
Many large children’s hospitals offer basic first aid training to new parents, and even if there is a charge for it what’s more important – a new top of the range designer outfit or training which could save your child’s life?
One of the most common accidents is burning, mainly because even if they are repeatedly told not to touch, kids will still put their fingers on the fire or the oven door. There are also lots of myths about burns, and parents don’t know whether to strip their child off, leave them clothed, treat it with water, rub the burn with butter, or when a burn is serious enough to need medical attention.
First aid courses will take you through all of the basics and give you the confidence to assess your home for risks and deal with a burn should it happen.
A baby or young child stopping breathing is very uncommon, but knowing what to do while waiting for the ambulance to arrive can make the difference between life and death. Even if you’ve been trained in the mouth to mouth or heart massage on adults, it’s worth seeking out a pediatric first aid course as the techniques used on babies and small children are different.
Courses also deal with drowning, which is also one of the most common accidents which happen to children in the UK.
Cuts and Bleeding
However careful your kids are they will fall and cut themselves at some point, usually when you have dressed them in their best Olive & Moss outfit to go to grannies. Head wounds in particular can bleed profusely, and knowing that the best way to stop bleeding is to apply gentle pressure is another tip you will be taught. You will be shown how to dress a wound and bandage if needed, and how to clean the wound out to prevent infection too.