Why is it so important for children to learn first aid?

The Department for Education has just undertaken a consultation on what should be included on the school curriculum for PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education).  First aid training is a vital life skill and there is increasing pressure on schools to provide it as an integral part of the school curriculum. The initial request is for one hour of age appropriate first aid training to be received by all school children every year. This is a token gesture but is a great start to empowering more children with these potentially life-saving skills. First aid training provides children with a vital knowledge base for dealing with any medical emergencies they may be faced.  In addition to any first aid training they may have at school, many teenagers are now also choosing to take our online and practical courses as a fabulous option for their Duke of Edinburgh Award.

children teenage first aid

Learning CPR

CPR is just one of the many areas covered in our first aid courses, but it is one of the most important.  In the UK over 30,000 cardiac arrests a year occur outside of hospital, but less than one in ten victims of cardiac arrest survive to be discharged from hospital. CPR can double the chances of survival from out of hospital cardiac arrest. It is therefore vital that we equip more people with the skills, ability and confidence to help.

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation has reported that; “Lives are needlessly lost to cardiac arrests every day because not enough people have the skills or confidence to perform CPR. But the simple measure of teaching all children these skills could save thousands of lives. All parties should now follow this example and commit to making CPR an integral part of every child’s education.” In Norway and Seattle where these skills are routinely taught in schools the survival for Cardiac Arrest in the community is far higher than the UK.

Additional benefits

For older children and teenagers, a first aid course can really boost their confidence, so they feel fully prepared should they or their friends need first line medical help.  It can also help them with Sports Leadership Awards and it is highly sought after by UCAS, particularly if applying for a medically related subject. It can help with earning some money too; parents feel far more confident leaving their little ones with a teenage babysitter who is equipped with the skills to help if there is an accident, and Sports and kids clubs view first aid skills as a necessity for anyone wanting to work with them. Therefore, not only are first aid skills hugely valuable and potentially life-saving; the qualification gained is likely to increase a young person’s chances in this highly competitive world.

Courses for young people

First Aid for Life runs both practical and online courses specifically for young people.   We love training in schools.  The children really enjoy the courses and are considerably more risk aware and equipped to cope with emergencies as a result.  However, doing their learning online can prove to be an ideal solution for teenagers doing their DofE award.  The training can be divided into small sections and completed over a 3 or 6-month period.  We are more than happy to assist with the final assessment and would strongly recommend they attend one of our practical courses, which will give them an ideal preparation for their Expedition as they will get even more from the hands-on experience. They can come and join one of our scheduled courses in Balham, or we could come and run a tailored group course for you at home for your family, with a group of friends, or a combination of both.

Good quality trainers

Wherever First Aid is taught, those teaching should be suitably trained and have the experience and knowledge to talk around the subject.  They should also ideally have used their skills in the real world. It is not appropriate to try and upskill the teachers and give them yet more to squeeze into an already packed curriculum. The schools where we teach generally use the PHSE funds to organise an incredibly useful, tailored course.  This is exactly how it should be. Alternatively, if time and money is tight; invest in a top quality relevant online first aid course https://onlinefirstaid.com/our-courses/first-aid-for-teenagers/ and maybe supplement with a shorter practical course.  We have practical courses running over Easter and at weekends throughout the year.

Prompt, appropriate first aid saves lives and the more people that are properly empowered with these skills the better.  We very much look forward to more children and teenagers being first aid trained in the future.

Written by Emma Hammett for First Aid for Life

It is strongly advised that you attend a Practical First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit www.firstaidforlife.org.uk  and www.onlinefirstaid.com for more information about our practical and online courses and to access free resources.

First Aid for Life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

Emma Hammett
Author: Emma Hammett