Would you know what to do if your child began choking? What about treating a burn?
As parents, it’s crucial that we know how to respond in an emergency situation with our kids. After all, we expect our caregivers, including teachers and daycare educators, to have up-to-date training on all things relating to child safety. Shouldn’t we expect the same of ourselves?
Whether you’re a new parent or your sleepless newborn nights are long behind you, here are three safety certifications all mums should have.
CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training
Would you know what to do if your child suddenly stopped breathing? CPR training is a skill that all parents, grandparents and carers should have, especially when toddlers and babies — who can choke on anything from buttons to grapes — are in the picture.
With over 10 years experience in the intensive care ward, registered children’s nurse Stephanie Winn — who runs CPR training courses in Sydney — says prompt CPR after an accident can be the difference between life and death.
“I have seen first hand the difference that good CPR can make to a child’s outcome. Learning CPR can prevent the loss of valuable minutes waiting for the emergency services to arrive when a lack of oxygen can cause irreversible damage,” she explains.
“If we are lucky most of us will never have to use these skills on our own child, but every parent should be prepared. Taking the time to learn or refresh these important skills should be an essential part of early parenting.”
There are courses available all across Australia, such as Revive a Child in Sydney, free government-sponsoring training in Adelaide and formal CPR certification in Brisbane. Google your local area for the closest listing.
Water safety training
You see the tragic new stories and think, “It could never happen to me,” but the growing number of child deaths from drowning in pools each year across Australia demonstrates how important water safety training is.
“There is a very real need to protect your child from drowning,” says Jeanie Neal, who makes available a free online training course to parents all over the world, designed to help them learn about water-related safety issues and how to protect children from water-related accidents.
While Neal recommends teaching your kids to swim “as soon as they are able to crawl to water”, she also believes it’s up to the parents to remain vigilant when their little ones are in the water.
“Children are never ‘drown-proof’ or ‘water safe’,” she adds. “They are not even living room safe. All children, especially young children, need supervision.”
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First aid training
First aid training shows you how to respond in a range of emergencies, from less serious incidents — like a minor burn or a fever — to life-threatening situations like poisoning and coping with allergies and anaphylaxis.
For instance, in the case of a burn, many parents mistakenly believe that applying ice or butter is the right course of action. But Dr John Harvey from the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney clarifies that tap water is the best treatment.
“Ice potentially does harm to the area surrounding the burn, so it’s better to lower the temperature slowly and keep the circulation going to the surrounding area. So tap water is ideal, and 20 minutes is the ideal time,” he says.
First aid training is available through St John Ambulance, an internationally-recognised first aid trainer with over 100 years of experience.