Yesterday saw the launch of a brand new campaign by the British Red Cross to encourage as many parents as possible to challenge themselves to learn just enough first aid skills to equip them for dealing with some common emergencies for babies and young children.
Like many parents and parents-to-be, I have been promising myself that I would learn some basic first aid skills ever since I first gave birth to Lara. For many reasons, I just never got around to it - time never seemed to be on my side. At the weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a one-day British Red Cross training course for baby and child first aid skills.
The British Red Cross are challenging parents to commit to learning a few basic first aid skills for their family, however little time you think you have to spare. You can sign up to the First Aid Challenge. By signing up and making the commitment to yourself you get free access to the British Red Cross first aid training videos, advice on what to do in an emergency, regular email updates on new first aid advice, news of free local training sessions and details of local hands-on first aid training courses. if you register now you also get a £5 voucher towards a first aid course and you are entered into a draw to win £500.
You can sign up to the First Aid Challenge for free at www.redcross.org.uk/firstaidchallenge or, if you happen to be at the Baby Show this weekend, you can find them at Earl's Court where they will be offering snippets with handy first aid tips every hour.
My hands on first aid course was a full day from 9am until 3pm at my local British Red Cross centre. I was joined by lots of expectant mums and dads, new mums and some people training to work with children. The course covered essential life-saving skills in a hands-on manner such as how to act in the event that your baby or child chokes on something, or what to do if they lose consciousness or cannot breathe. I found the hands-on skills extremely useful as I was totally unaware of CPR techniques or the recovery position for a baby as young as Holly.
I was also very impressed by the range of other first-aid skills that were taught. What to do in the event of a head injury (hmmm, I could have done with this a few months ago when Holly ended up in A&E), what to do in the event of a very high temperature or seizure, how to spot the first signs of meningitis, steps you should take if your child swallows a toxic substance or is stung by a bee and first aid in the event of drowning. All of these are things you would never want to happen to your child but which are all too common in the home and it is wise to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to be able to react should you need to save a child's life.
I was really impressed with my First Aid for Baby & Child training course which, at £37.50 for a full day was remarkably good value; I feel like I greatly improved my confidence that I would be able to act in the event of an emergency. However, learning first aid skills doesn't have to take a whole day; the first aid challenge highlights the fact that you really can learn some essential skills just by watching a short video or reading a fact sheet. They may be little things but they could save a life. Go on...Take the challenge...make that first step like you have been meaning to!