First Aid knowledge is a very valuable skill to have as an adult because we simply don’t know what may happen on a day-to-day basis and it may be a requirement for a particular job or profession in order to maintain optimal workplace safety.
Additionally, those of us who are parents value First Aid knowledge for the peace of mind it provides that we can care for our children in the event of an injury or emergency, but what about teaching our children First Aid basics?
Sometimes situations arise where a child may not have access to a parent or trustworthy adult when they, or someone close to them, is wounded. While it is always recommended that a child know how to call for help in an emergency by dialing 000, it can be just as beneficial to a child (generally between the ages of 6 to 11 years) to know some basic and easy First Aid skills to apply while help is on the way.
The 3 main points for teaching children First Aid are:
1. Assessing Potential Dangers:
There are some great resources for teaching kids how to assess a situation or area for potential dangers, an excellent example is the “Spot the Danger” game on the British Red Cross’ website. This game provides animated locations with various items in it where the child can click on the potential hazards.
Teaching children to see potential hazards in their environment before or during an emergency could prevent further injury. Children should notice risks such as sharp objects on the ground or working surfaces; heavy objects that could fall; or items that are hot or electrically charged such as a stove-top, fireplace or exposed electrical wires.
2. How to Treat Non-emergency Wounds:
There are lots of smaller-scale injuries that do not require a child to call 000 when a parent or trustworthy adult is not immediately accessible. In these situations a child can be taught to apply basic first aid in situations with cuts, scrapes, burns, a nosebleed or insect bites before notifying an adult.
Example 1: If a child has burnt themselves, they can be taught to immediately run the burn under cold water for several minutes and if they are able to access a First Aid kit they can apply burn gel/cream.
Example 2: If a child’s friend has cut themselves and is bleeding, the child can assist the friend before notifying an adult by telling their friend to elevate the cut and either locate a First Aid kit to apply bandage or applying pressure using a cloth item such as a shirt or hand towel.
3. How to Handle an Emergency:
Emergency situations can be very scary for a child. In situations such as discovering someone unconscious or not breathing; having a broken limb; a bad cut; or choking, it is important for a child to know how to stay calm and what to do.
Children can be taught to do a simple check on an injured person to discover what is wrong with them, make sure the person is in a safe space by removing potential risks and knowing how to call 000.
A child that is able to stay calm and act quickly to request help could very well save a life without having extensive First Aid or CPR knowledge themselves.