It’s World First Aid Day on 11th September. The purpose of this day is to highlight the importance of first aid training for people of all ages to prevent injuries and save lives.
Here we share some simple life-saving activities you can do with your child at home so they stay calm and take the right steps in an emergency.
Can your child make an emergency call?
Two five-year old children, Kyran Duff and April Walsh, both saved their mum’s lives by knowing what to do in an emergency. The children knew how to dial 999, they were able to unlock doors and could tell the operator where they lived. Thanks to these children both women made a full recovery.
- One of the most important things we can teach our children is how to use the phone to dial 999 in an emergency. Does your child know how use your phone and what buttons to press on the keypad if the phone is locked?
- Help your child to memorise their home address. Perhaps you could turn your address into a song to the tune of a familiar nursery rhyme?
- Help your child to learn their phone number as the ambulance operator will ask for it in case they get cut off during the call. Again, you could put the numbers to a tune to help your child remember them.
- Does your child know how to open the door in an emergency? Teach them how.
- Role play calling for an ambulance to help your child to learn to stay calm. Practice the questions an ambulance operator will ask.
Make sure your child understands that dialling 999 is for emergencies only and explain the reasons.
When teaching your child how to unlock a door you also need to teach them to respect a locked door. Be mindful that your child does not leave the house unattended or let other people in without your knowledge.
Can your child reach a first-aid kit?
Put together a child-friendly first aid kit without scissors, tweezers and anything else that might be dangerous. Make sure the first aid kit is easily accessible to them.
Show your child how to apply plasters and use a bandage and let them practice. See if they can tell you in which type of emergency would they use a plaster or a bandage.
First Aid skills to learn
The ability to stop bleeding quickly can prevent someone going into shock – so it’s a valuable skill!
- Show your child how to apply direct pressure onto a bleed until it stops and let them practice on you.
- Explain that a towel or a piece of clothing can be used if they are not near a first aid kit. Cleaner material is preferable.
- Say that if the bleeding soaks through the bandage or material they need to apply another layer over the top.
For more about how to stop bleeding and the correct steps to take, please see the St John’s Ambulance website. Learn as much as you can about stopping bleeding before you teach your child.
Treating a nosebleed
Watch this St John’s Ambulance video about how to treat a nosebleed and then practice with your child. Help them to know what to do if they have a nosebleed themselves or somebody else has a nosebleed and there isn’t an adult nearby.
If a nosebleed lasts for more than 30 minutes it’s time to call an ambulance.
Treating a burn or scald
Make your child aware of hazards by walking around the house and asking them to point out and explain potential hazards (eg. don’t touch the oven or the end of a hot hairdryer because you will get burnt).
Have a look at the St John’s Ambulance website to find out how to treat burns and scalds and then ask your child to practice on a doll. The priority is to cool the affected area and, if they are alone, to then dial 999.
First Aid courses for children
One of the most likely accidents to happen is choking. The most important skill a child can learn is how to recognise when somebody is choking and what to do. If an adult is out of the room and a younger sibling chokes, every second counts.
On the St John’s Ambulance website there is a video showing what to do when somebody chokes. You could learn yourself and then teach your child. Nothing, however, can replace attending a first-aid course and practising the skills learnt to keep them fresh. Mini First Aid run classes for children and St John’s Ambulance run activity clubs for the over-7s that incorporate first aid.
More first aid activities you can do at home
See First Aid learning for young people from the British Red Cross. Here you will find activities and films for children aged 5-18 to help them develop essential first aid skills to keep themselves and others safe.
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