Updated: Feb 17, 2020
When you think of First Aid and what it means to you, a whole multitude of things may come to mind, from giving CPR chest compression or knowing what the recovery position is, to knowing how to clean a wound or tie a bandage, or even just knowing to call 999 and ask for the appropriate service.
Many people may be able to cast their minds back to childhood experience or 'training' through the Scouts, Guides, sports clubs or St. John's Ambulance, and you may think you've forgotten such skills - but if required you will likely be able to demonstrate a good recovery position or be able to stem a bleed. You'd be surprised at what you recall from those formative years of learning!
We all understand the importance of having 'First Aiders' - certified individuals who have completed a full official training programme - on hand in the workplace, school, play centre, festival site and so on, but where does the training of young children in First Aid fit in, and can you be too young to learn first aid?
From September 2020 all state-funded Primary and Secondary schools in England will be required to teach First Aid as part of the mandatory school curriculum and Health Education. Statutory Guidance from the Department for Education states that Primary pupils should be taught about the "steps they can take to protect and support their own and others' health and well-being, including basic first aid." The Basic First Aid techniques that Primary age pupils should know are: how to make a clear and efficient call to emergency services if necessary. concepts of basic first aid, for example dealing with common injuries, including head injuries.
We can all recall or research newsworthy stories of where a child as young as five years old has saved someone's life by calling emergency services after seeing their family member collapse, saved someone from choking by smacking them on their back, or an eight year old having been able to commence CPR (having seen it performed in a film!)
First Aid for children certainly doesn't need to be complicated, and planting the seeds of knowing how and when to help someone in an emergency is effective and lifelong - as is having the confidence to know it's OK to act.
Every child can be a lifesaver! Even if all they know is to call 999 and stay with someone who needs help until emergency services arrive, that can make all the difference. They may be able to make someone more comfortable, or even to stem a bleed through simple pressure techniques.
And you never know, those youngsters may be inspired to become doctors, nurses or paramedics - the next generation of first aid heroes!
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