First aid is one of the essential life skills that your middle-schooler needs. It is always better to be prepared to help oneself and others. Here's how.
By Aarthi Arun
Ten-year-old Ashish was watching a video when his three-year-old brother, Ayan, choked on a coin and turned purple. While his other brother, Arman, rushed to call their parents, Ashish put Ayan over his knees and slapped his back four times to dislodge the coin. When their parents came rushing, Ayan had thrown up the coin and Ashish was patting him saying, “Good job!” Thanks to the first-aid classes Ashish had at school and his quick thinking, he was able to save his brother's life.
We often underestimate the potential of our children. We tend to protect them from everything, instead of teaching them the mechanism to cope on their own.
It may not be possible for you to be around your child 24/7. So, show her how to help herself by preparing for the worst-case scenarios. First aid skills are important for her to learn to protect herself and others around her from potentially life-threatening situations. In times of distress, a basic knowledge about first aid can save lives. And, in many instances, emergency services are only a split second too late. Here are ten first aid basics your child should know:
1. Calling an emergency service
112 is the number to dial in case of emergency in India. So, make your child memorise this number. He should be able to state the emergency clearly to the operator. You can also show him how he can dial the number even when the mobile phone is locked. At the same time, let him understand that the number is to be dialled only during emergencies.
2. Getting help from adults
Encourage your child to always reach out to an adult if she or her friends happen to be in an emergency. Have her memorise your and your spouse's mobile numbers. You can also have the list of all the family members' phone numbers posted on your fridge. Teach her how to act in different situations. For instance, if her baby brother has a bump, it's okay to apply ice on her own, but in case her grandmother is unconscious, she must immediately call for a neighbour's help.
3. Being aware of specific health conditions
It is a good idea to teach your child about any health conditions that he or your family members may have. For example, if your child has an egg allergy, you can tell him how to identify eggless products and tell him what to do if he happens to eat products with eggs. You can also talk to your children about grandparents' health conditions in a similar way. This will help them react quickly during emergencies.
4. Having a first-aid kit
Prepare a first-aid kit along with your child. You can add necessary products like over-the-counter medicine, bandage, ointment, antiseptic, scissors and cotton balls. Explain the purpose of each item clearly so that she knows what to use and when. Also, whenever you happen to use any of the items, tell her why you're using it and how it helps in treating the wound. You can say, “I am using the antiseptic liquid to clean the wound as it kills bacteria.”
5. Controlling bleeding
Bleeding from wounds or the nose is common in children. If your child knows what to do in such situations, he need not panic. Your child can use a towel or napkin to wrap the wound and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. For nosebleeds, he can tilt the head up and pinch the nose for 10 minutes to stop the bleeding.
6. Caring for bumps, bruises and broken bones
Children are active and are natural risk-takers. So, a few bumps and scratches are an inevitable part of their childhood. Your child must know how to care for common wounds and call for help for more serious ones. You can show him how to apply ice on a bump and clean a wound with soap and water. In case of a broken bone, it is better to reach out to an adult immediately. Teach him that he must not move the injured or affected part till he is taken to the hospital.
7. Attending to burns
For minor burns, your child can simply run the affected area under cold water. For severe ones, she can apply a thin wet cloth over the wound and call for help. You can also teach the 'Stop, Drop, and Roll' technique to know what to do when her dress catches fire.
8. Tending to sprains and strains
When your child has soft tissue injuries like sprains and strains, he can use the RICE treatment. RICE stands for 'Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation'. This can help him be comfortable and reduce internal bleeding, if any. However, it is important to see a medical practitioner to rule out other injuries and issues.
9. Paying attention to details
We all know that prevention is better than cure in many cases. So, encourage your child to be aware of her environment, especially when she's outdoors like in a forest or near water bodies. She can look around to see where the fire extinguishers and first-aid boxes are kept. Knowledge is the key in times of distress and helps solve problems during crises.
10. Having a calm attitude
Let your child know that it is important to stay calm and approach the problem logically during an emergency situation. Quick-thinking and decision-making skills are indispensable for solving a crisis.
Basic first aid knowledge is all your child needs to possess. However, you can also enrol him in first aid classes in your neighbourhood to learn more. He can also watch videos online to understand how to administer CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and other complex techniques. Remember, these skills can come in handy and save someone's life.
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