Family: Why parents should brush up on their first aid

Although more than 60 children a year die in accidents in the home, almost a quarter of parents admit they don't have any baby or child first aid knowledge.
Would you know how to give a child basic first aid treatment?Would you know how to give a child basic first aid treatment?
Would you know how to give a child basic first aid treatment?

A new study shows 21% of mums and dads have been forced to give a child emergency first aid, but only 31% said they felt confident doing it.

Instead, 38% were terrified the child could die, 20% were worried they’d be left injured, and 11% panicked and froze completely.

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As a result, St John Ambulance and the parenting channel have teamed up to produce a new video first aid course that features vital first aid techniques and signs of common illnesses, plus tips from TV GP Dr Dawn Harper, and real-life experiences from mummy vloggers like Charlie O’Brien.

The seven-video series can be viewed at Kearl, national training officer at St John Ambulance, says the videos are a great starting point for parent first aid and highlight how easy and quick it is to learn essential lifesaving skills.

And she stresses: “For parents looking to further their first aid knowledge, our basic first aid courses take between just three to six hours and give hands-on experience.

“Once parents know what to do, they have the confidence to take action quickly and are able to act if needed.”


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The ChannelMum study found the most frightening first aid scenario for parents is choking, with 53% saying it was their biggest fear.

Almost a quarter of parents have faced the reality of their child choking.

The next most alarming situation is a seizure – with 14% of parents reporting their child has had one – followed by a severe allergic reaction, experienced by one in 20.

Meningitis was a very real fear for 6% of parents, and 16% have had to treat their child for a burn.

In addition, almost one in 10 has given CPR to a child.

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The survey of 2,000 adults showed becoming a parent was the biggest trigger for 55% of parents who wanted to improve first aid knowledge, compared to just 11% who went on to learn more first aid after having a serious accident themselves.


The poll also revealed 84% of parents attempt to childproof their home to reduce the risk of accidents. However, just 42% keep a first aid kit at home.

And while 82% of families ensure they keep medicines out of children’s reach, over a third (36%) admit they leave laundry items, which can be toxic, within children’s grasp, while 54% have yet to secure TVs to stop them falling.

A further 43% don’t tie up blind cords, despite them being linked to several child deaths.


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Parents correctly identified that one minute a day spent learning first aid and minimising risks can cut the chance of children having a serious accident or needing first aid.



Always cut food lengthways not across.

Keep handbags out of reach – children commonly choke on money and pen lids.

If your child is choking, never poke inside their mouth as this could push the blockage further down.


Any burn bigger than a child’s palm needs urgent medical attention.

Put burns into cold water for at least 10 minutes.

Cover in cling film to keep sterile before getting help.

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Remove loose clothing but if clothes stick, leave them on until help arrives.


Have antihistamines in your home.

Be aware allergies can show up during weaning.

Treat a rash with antihistamines.

Swollen lips or tongue? Get to hospital.


Under six months a fever is 38 C. Over six months it’s 39 degrees C.

Never treat children with aspirin - check the label.

Child not getting better after 72 hours? Get medical attention fast.


ABC – Airways, Breathing, Circulation.

Start with five rescue breaths, then 30 compressions/ two rescue breaths and repeat until help arrives or the child breathes.

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Use the song Nellie The Elephant as your timing guide. At least 120 compressions a minute.


If your child has a seizure, place them gently on the floor and clear space around them.

If the seizure lasts more than two minutes, get medical help.

If your child has a seizure without a temperature, get medical help.


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Don’t wait for the rash – learn the other signs including joint and limb pain, light sensitivity, blotchy pale skin, flu-like illness and cold hands and feet. Babies may have a high-pitched cry.

Be aware sepsis can happen from any infection – signs include no wet nappy for 12 hours, vomiting, convulsions, feeling cold, not feeding and hard to wake.