All parents learn how to handle coughs, colds and minor injuries, but our first aid skills often stop there. We might not be sure what to do in a real emergency, especially when a child is having trouble breathing or needs CPR. You can’t always wait for the ambulance or an appointment with your respiratory paediatrician. Learning CPR could enable you to save a life.
One father who found his skills tested just months after he took a first aid course was Alec Brown, who was able to save the life of his baby son. The eight month old has fallen ill with a sudden respiratory illness in a remote part of Scotland but Alec was able to perform CPR before the ambulance arrived.
Learning CPR can be particularly important if your child is being treated by a respiratory paediatrician for a chronic condition, but anyone could end up in need of help if there is an accident or they fall ill. Hopefully you will never be in a situation where these skills are needed, but if you do then you could help your own child, one of their friends or even a complete stranger.
- You can learn a lot about first aid online, but the best way to learn techniques such as CPR is to attend a course where you can practice on a dummy. Going through the motions will teach your body what it feels like to perform chest compressions and resuscitation breaths.
- The technique to use depends on whether you are helping a baby, toddler, child or adult. Don’t assume you can perform CPR on a toddler just because you’ve done an adult first aid course. Pick a course that suits your child’s age group and add to your skills as they get older.
- Always call an ambulance if someone is unresponsive or not breathing. The best thing you can do is to ensure that help will arrive as soon as possible.