First Aid for Kids

Saturday, 7 March 2009

With all the devastation surrounding Sichuan’s earthquake this year, once again people are reminded how fragile and precious life is.

While our families have been fortunate enough to escape this terrible tragedy, there are many who have not been so lucky. The despair and loss families are going through right now is hard to contemplate. Those of us safe in Beijing can certainly mourn, pray and help in whatever way we can, but what we can also do is prepare. Prepare ourselves for the possible event of tragedy in our own lives – in ways that can protect our families and ensure the best possible outcome should we face any kind of devastation – from earthquakes to simple accidents in the home.

When I flew for an Australian airline many years ago, aviation medicine, emergency training and first aid were some of the complex components that came with the role of flight attendant. What I learned was vital to my role, but it also provided me with priceless life skills that I’ve since been called on to use during incidents that were not life-threatening – but still scary nonetheless. I may not have yet saved anyone’s life, but knowing that I could possibly do so fills me with a sense of empowerment, especially in my most important role of all – as a mother.

Remembering this comprehensive training – and casting my mind to the dreadful loss of life 1,500km away – got me thinking about first aid skills. Adults can easily take first aid courses that could mean the difference between life and death. In fact, I believe it should be compulsory for all parents to take first aid when they have children – especially as the skills needed can vary when it comes to helping a child or baby.

But what about kids? Even children as young as 4 or 5 years old have the capacity to be trained in basic first aid, and older kids can benefit from more comprehensive training. There have been many reported cases of even the smallest kids saving their siblings or adults from life-threatening situations. In this regard, youth should not prevent access to this kind of information and training.

So, I am putting out the call for local hospitals and clinics – both Chinese and Western – to provide First Aid training for our kids. I would sign up both my kids in a heavily thumping heartbeat.

Footnote: It’s vital to update First Aid skills frequently. If your First Aid knowledge is more than a year old, consult your medical provider about taking a refresher course.

First published on the beijingkids website.

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