Simple First Aid Tips to Teach Your Child at Home

At the beginning of 2020, first aid was added to the curriculum in state-funded schools across England. Many experts welcomed the addition of first aid education to the National Curriculum, but there has also been mention of the role that parents can play in their child’s education of life-saving skills.

As many families try to navigate home learning during the pandemic, skills such as first aid can not only save lives but also boost a child’s confidence and foster their independence. While the majority of the country’s school-aged children are currently out of the classroom, parents can still teach their children some basic first aid and safety tips by getting creative at home.

When to Call for Help 

One of the best life-saving skills you can teach your child is knowing when to call for assistance and how to do so. Making sure your child knows when to call 999 and their basic details, like their postcode and name, ensures that they are well equipped to get help. Parents should also set clear guidelines for their children when it is necessary to call 999 to avoid unnecessary calls. A great way to illustrate this is by using a role-play example. Using a toy or old mobile handset, you and your child can take turns playing the roles of injured parties and paramedics. With the help of real-life scenarios such as a fall in the bathroom or finger cut, you can explain to your child when it is okay to call an ambulance, what to say to them, and what to do until they arrive.

Practice Fire Safety 

Another great game to play with your child while at home is an imaginary fire drill. This game provides the opportunity for you to teach your child two different first aid skills; learning the family fire plan and the stop, drop, and roll fire safety technique to address full-body burns. Fire drills are a common technique used in schools to help pupils practice what to do and where to go in a fire. You can start by speaking to your child about any emergency plans before practising an imaginary fire drill by simply using an alarm on your mobile phone. 

To make it more fun for your child, try setting additional challenges like a prize for whoever can get out of the home the quickest or implementing a variety of scenarios like locked entry and exit doors. You can also teach your child about fire safety whilst on one of your daily walks, using a small hill in your local park, show your child how to stop drop and roll. You can also do this whilst indoors, ideally on a carpeted surface. This technique would also come in useful when they are navigating a fire and trying to stay low to the ground — a recommended tip to help you navigate your way out safely.

Explain How to Treat Injuries

While addressing muscle injuries or contusions from riding a bike or an ankle sprain, these types of real-life examples are the perfect way to teach your child first aid tips for open wounds. To teach first aid skills in bleeding, you can talk through the process of applying pressure, cleaning the wound, and applying a bandage with your child so that they understand the order of treatment and, more importantly, why it is being done. Using first aid techniques like the RICE acronym, you can also teach them other steps to slow blood loss and aid muscle recovery by keeping the injured area elevated and applying ice to ease swelling and pain.

Use Role Play to Teach CPR

Pretend play is a very effective way of imparting knowledge to children. Most early years and primary school settings encourage imaginative play amongst children in a bid to encourage their creativity, communication skills, and emotional development. A great example is to practice remaining calm in a medical emergency such as needing to perform CPR. In the absence of a certified CPR class, parents can use video tutorials on platforms like YouTube, toy dolls, or role-play characters to teach their child the resuscitation technique. While most training programs use CPR kits and manikins you can also illustrate the hand placement (heel of hand on the centre of chest) and rate of compression (100 to 120 compressions per minute). 

Ideally, you want to focus on teaching your child the right steps in the CPR technique and recognising when to call for help. A past study published in the BMJ showed that school-aged children were able to understand the correct steps in performing CPR but unable to provide adequate chest compressions due to the lack of strength. However, repeated and hands-on practice was needed for children to effectively grasp the concept.

The natural instinct for any parent is to want to keep their child safe. Teaching them life-saving skills such as first aid can help them prepare for potential situations where they may need to help themselves, their friends, or someone around them in an emergency.

First Aid training is an important life skill to learn, another important skill is learning how to manage stress in our busy lives. Here are our top tips to manage stress for a happier and healthier you.

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