Teenagers are risk takers! Teaching them first aid helps young people evaluate risk and empowers them with life skills to help themselves or their friends, if faced with a medical emergency.
There is no doubt that teenagers often find themselves in circumstances in which first aid skills could make a critical difference. The British Red Cross revealed that:
- More than 532,000 young teenagers have been left to cope with a drunken friend who was sick, injured or unconscious in the last year.
- 1/4 of young people have had to deal with asthma attacks.
- 1/3 of teenagers have had to cope with someone with a head injury.
- 1/5 teenagers have had to help someone who is choking.
Around 60,000 young people are admitted to hospital each year according to ROSPA. These admissions are most commonly due to falls (which will be due to in part to excessive alcohol consumption and extreme sporting activities).
Crucially: when faced with these emergency situations, 44% panicked and 46% simply didn’t know what to do.
In the survey’s most compelling statistic, 97% of young people, believed first aid education would improve their confidence, skills and willingness to act in a crisis.
A First Aid qualification is an essential life skill and helps young people remain safer by appreciating risk and being able to help each other if they are involved in a medical emergency. My own teenagers have both had to use their first aid skills and knowledge on numerous occasions; at parties, on the sports pitch, babysitting, UCAS applications and whilst doing their Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions.
Parents feel far more confident leaving their little ones with someone equipped with the skills to help if there is an accident and Sports and kids clubs view First Aid skills as a necessity.
Therefore, not only are the skills hugely valuable, likely to be used and could save a life; the qualification gained is likely to increase a young person’s chances in this highly competitive world.
Lifesaving First Aid classes are to become a compulsory part of the curriculum in English schools from this year. However, this will only equate to 1 hour of first aid training per year. Many schools are only able to offer this as a demonstration in large groups, rather than ideally in small group hands-on courses that are age-appropriate and tailored to the needs of those attending.
There is a wealth of evidence to prove that this new bill will save thousands of lives. Research has shown that the UK has shockingly low survival rates from cardiac arrests. Children and teenagers possessing first aid skills can therefore drastically and positively impact upon the health of the nation.
On 7 December 2019, a mother and her five-month-old baby were plunged into a canal in Widnes after being chased by swans. Although she could swim, Lifei Wang, began to struggle to save her baby as she was weighed down by her clothing. Luckily, the cries of her four-year-old daughter Reya were heard by a group of boys aged 11-14 playing football nearby.
The group of 7 boys had been first aid trained so clicked into action straight away. They rescued the baby and Lifei out of the water, without putting their own lives at risk by going in. The boys quickly realised the baby wasn’t breathing and started CPR. At the same time, one of the other boys was calling 999. It was quite some time before there were any other adults around to help. If these boys had not learnt these skills in school, the consequences in this situation would have been fatal.
The schoolboys were commended by Cheshire Police and presented with a bravery award from this week.
There are thousands of examples just like this. Here at First Aid for Life, there are countless occasions where young people taking our courses have put their skills into practice and helped saved lives.
How young people we have trained, have been able to help others
Jen Craven is a trainer at First Aid for Life. After teaching a course to a group of teenagers, she was called by the mother of one of the young boys on the course. 13-year-old Thomas was walking back from school when a man collapsed in front of him. Thomas recognised it was a seizure and knew what to do. He called an ambulance and stayed with the man until help arrived. Jen shared that this story made her day to know that the information she taught had stuck with him and been used for good.
Ellis Dunford has been recognised for his bravery when he helped an elderly gentleman who was unconscious and not breathing having fallen down the stairs on the bus. Thanks to the First Aid course he completed with us, he was able to check the casualty, carefully move him to enable him to perform CPR, call an ambulance and take instructions from the emergency services on the phone. When the police arrived, he was told the man was alive and that Ellis had personally helped save his life. His mum Pippa has said that without the First Aid course, Ellis would never have been able to so confidently and successfully do this.
What makes our courses special?
The Government recognises the importance of first aid and have consequently approved it as a mandatory element of the PSHE curriculum. However, learning first aid is not a tick box exercise but a specialist skill that deserves care and attention.
A common misconception is that first aid can be taught to large numbers at once – for example in a school assembly. However, this runs the risk of children misunderstanding or misapplying first aid techniques, which could be potentially dangerous as children who have only half listened attempt to practise poorly grasped skills on each other or younger siblings.
It is important that primary school children are introduced to age-appropriate basic first aid, such as learning how to call for an ambulance and helping with common occurrences such as burns, choking or putting someone who is unconscious and breathing into the recovery position.
Older children will be taught life-saving first aid such as CPR, using defibrillators and more complex first aid.
Here at First Aid for Life, we teach practical courses in small groups and at an age-appropriate level, with the ability to tailor information to specific needs and requests. Our expert trainers can ensure everyone is actively involved and has fully understood everything they are learning.
We also have created accompanying free online teaching resources to enhance their practical training and cater to a larger group of students.
Our First Aid for Teenagers courses are incredibly popular and as parents ourselves we ensure we cover all the common first aid emergencies and empower everyone with confidence to keep themselves that bit safer and be able to help each other when it really matters. We run regular scheduled courses aimed specifically at teenagers (but if you can’t make any of these dates, teenagers are also welcome on our 3 hour Emergency First Aid courses). We also love running bespoke courses for groups of friends and are happy to tailor them for specific requirements such as post exam trips away, gap years and sports qualifications.
For Duke of Edinburgh Awards, our online learning often proves an ideal solution as it can be divided into small sections and completed over a 3 or 6 month period. We are more than happy to assist with the assessment and would strongly recommend they attend one of our practical courses which will give them an ideal preparation for their expedition as well.
Written by Emma Hammett.
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. It is strongly advised that you attend a First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 8675 4036 for more information.
www.firstaidforlife.org.uk – Award Winning First Aid training tailored to your needs
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