Friday, December 13, 2013

First Aid Saves Lives

This is a C2 post
For full details please see my disclosure policy

What would you do if you found your child unconscious? If they tipped boiling water over themselves? If they started choking on a grape? If they had a severe allergic reaction and their throat started to close and they couldn’t breathe? If you found them floating in the pool?

Would you panic or go in to lioness mode?

Well I’m going to tell you, Lioness mode means squat if you don’t actually know basic first aid.

About a year ago, Tricky choked on some food. I don’t even remember what it was now, but we were all sitting having dinner and he went quiet, and we all know quiet and toddlers don’t mix. It usually means they’re up to something, but in this case it meant his windpipe was blocked.

I looked over and he was trying to heave up what was in his throat but he couldn’t. His eyes were wide in panic and there was saliva dribbling out his silent mouth. I grabbed him up to flip him over and smack him on the back and whatever it was, thankfully, popped out straight away. He coughed his little lungs up and cried buckets (whether from the shock or from having his mother yank his arm and thump his back, I’m not sure). In that moment, just like the first cry of a new born babe, it was the most brilliant sound I’d ever heard. The whole thing, from start to finish, would have been 5 seconds at the most.

My mind raced with quite a few expletives and what ifs but mostly it sung a happy tune of thanks for doing a first aid course. Then I berated myself because I still hadn't done the refresher I swore I'd do when Tricky was born.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a child resuscitation course at St John Ambulance the other day and finally got my refresher, albeit four years after I started thinking about doing it. Turning up to find out that my classmates were actual celebrities, Amy Zempilas, Jessica Bratitch and Elissa Griesser, meant I almost needed CPR myself. But I had thankfully taken along the buffer. And by buffer I mean Bobbin.

Not content to just be the cutest baby in the room (erm, she was the only baby in the room) Bobbin decided to really make a name for herself and proceeded to do a poo explosion all over my leg when we were only a few minutes in to the course. Oh did I mention that we were BEING FILMED FOR TELEVISION?! I excused myself and tried to clean us both up as much as I could and seriously considered just legging it and not going back because, well, poo stains don’t look good on camera. And as much as they say “breastfed babies don’t smell”, IT’S A LIE!

But I continued on with my poopants and the others should be applauded for being gracious, helpful and above all, not gagging. When it is your own kid it is tolerable, but someone else’s? Kudos, ladies, kudos.

I’m glad I did stay because the long awaited refresher was awesome. Our instructor, Brooke, was amazing and so passionate about teaching people these basic, life saving skills. It was great to learn that the number of compressions to breaths is now easier to remember, that you can’t hurt someone with the defibrillators available at shopping centres and that a shocked person doesn’t jump a metre off the bed like they do in the movies.

Here we are practicing compressions on child mannequins. For the record, we didn't purposely dress all matchy matchy.

L - R: Amy Zempilas, Jessica Bratitch, poopypants and Elissa Griesser
You can check out the segment below. Let's all be thankful it is not smellovision.

I also learned:
  • The likelihood of a person making a full recovery improves if they receive first aid in the initial moments after the accident
  • The average time it takes to get an ambulance to the scene is 10 minutes
  • Irreversible brain damage can occur if the person goes more than 4 minutes without oxygen
  • St John Ambulance have been running first aid courses in WA since 1892!
Brooke demonstrating how to use a defibrillator on a baby
We go to so much effort to keep our kids safe; vaccinations, power point guards, securing furniture to the walls, locking away poisons, having pool gates and teaching them how to cross the road safely. But accidents do happen and you can’t control how other people set up their houses. It makes sense that you’d learn the skills to act if something horrible should occur.

It was quite confronting to practice CPR on the child mannequins and even more so on the baby mannequin. Resusibaby and Bobbin were exactly the same size and doing the compressions and puffing air in to it's little lungs actually made me quite emotional. But now I know exactly how much air fills a babies lungs, not because I've read it, or heard it, but because I've practiced it.
Behind the scenes
St John Ambulance know that you don’t have a lot of time to spare so they have the Child Resuscitation Awareness course which is only 2 hours long and costs $49 per person. As the name suggests, it focuses on babies and children and covers things like choking, drowning, asthma and anaphylaxis.

Certificates for everyone
As it happens, I’ve got a $50 voucher to give away which you can use towards any course or even a first aid kit if you wish. You just have to tell me one reason you should become a Super Mum and learn (or have a refresher) for first aid.

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