It is no secret that I believe that first aid is a fundamental life skill. Over the years people have asked me whether their children should learn first aid and it is no surprise that my response is a great big “YES”. I know some people are understandably concerned that the topics covered could upset children. However, I believe if taught in the right way, first aid for children can be empowering and can save lives. Let me explain why…
Knowledge is power and first aid knowledge is no different. My children are now 8 and 10 and have lately become fascinated with Bondi Rescue. We watch it together so I can filter content and ask questions/offer explanations as the program plays. I was worried that seeing people struggling in the water or getting injured/sick on the beach would make them anxious about swimming at the beach or all the ways that you can be injured. Interestingly when we have talked about this, they have both said it has helped them understand why they need to swim in between the flags and how to gesture to a life guard if needed. In short it has helped them to understand how to keep safe at a beach and how to get help if needed. They both actually seem much more confident because they have a plan about what to do if something goes wrong. Learning first aid in the right environment can work in a similar way.
By teaching a child to both recognise a problem and put a simple plan into action they can feel more in control, calmer and empowered if faced with a first aid event. By teaching basic and age appropriate first aid skills they realise that they CAN help which can make turn a scary situation into a manageable one. I have definitely seen this be the case with my children. One time my daughter was ”first on the scene” at an afterschool activity when one of her friends badly cut her head. Afterwards when we talked about what had happened, she (at the age of 7) was able to explain how she told her friend to sit down and hold onto her head to stop it bleeding, how she told another friend who felt sick with blood to look away and how she went to get the teacher and me. It blew me away that she was able to stay calm and prioritise what to do to help. Having an understanding and a plan is empowering and often calming. My son has also demonstrated similar skills from an early age.
From these events and from teaching other children, I have learnt how capable children can be in a first aid situation. If taught correctly (and depending on age) they can:
- Recognise a problem
- Prioritise their response
- Know how and where to get help
- Provide basic first aid until help arrives to keep themselves and the casualty safe
This is vital in Australia where we love the water, sports, where things can bite us, where we love the outdoors, and where our children are lucky enough to be looked after by family and friend from an older generation. First aid is a vital life skill to be built on as children grow.
If taught correctly using an interactive and fun approach with games and skills practise, first aid for children can be engaging, empowering and confidence boosting for the whole family. Learning with your child/ren is a great way to ensure the messages that they have heard are consistent to the messages that you reinforce at home. I am running a 2-hour holiday session on 17 Jan where children 8+ years can learn age appropriate first aid skills alongside their parent/caregiver. I would love to see you there.
Click here for more information and to book online.
Alternatively, contact me to find out how I can personalise a course to the needs of your family.
Have a happy and safe summer holiday.
This article was written for information and education purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read in this article.