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Essential First Aid Skills Every Child Should Know

Every year, more than 146 million Americans visit ERs across the country to seek treatment for illness and injury, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. A person can get injured or fall ill at any time, often when the only person around to assist them is a child. While a child may not be able to perform complicated medical procedures, they can be taught a range of potentially life-saving first aid skills that will provide them, and you, with added peace of mind. Apart from knowing how to perform CPR, children can also be taught at school how to address cuts and lacerations and call 911 when someone is in need of emergency medical assistance.

CPR saves lives

CPR is without a doubt one of the most valuable first aid skills anyone can acquire. Up to 86% of children who received hands-on training were found to be proficient in administering CPR, according to an ABCNews report. Even children who might not possess the physical strength to perform CPR on an adult can benefit from basic life support training. Once a child has mastered CPR, it may be a good idea to teach them how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) as well. Although more advanced life support training is typically reserved for children over the age of 16, some first aid programs do commence training for children as young as thirteen.

Cuts and lacerations need to be dealt with swiftly

Although most cuts and lacerations are not life-threatening, they are among the most common injuries that occur in the USA.  Children can be taught how to put pressure on a wound to help stop the bleeding from a young age.  During basic first aid training, a child will also be taught how to determine the severity of an injury and take the necessary actions based on this observation.  If the injury is severe, the injured area has to be lifted higher than the person’s heart in order to reduce the bleeding.  It is also important that children are taught to seek help immediately if an injured person is unconscious or if there are bones protruding from the open wound.

Children need to know how to call for help

While it is essential that children learn basic first aid skills, it is also vital to know when it is in the best interest of the patient to call 911.  A child can be taught this potentially life-saving skill as soon as they know their numbers. It is also a good idea to program the number into the speed dial of both your landline and cellphone. Teach the children how to tell the 911 operator that they need help in a calm and informative manner and prepare them for any questions they may be asked. It is important that a child value the importance of telling the truth when phoning 911 and never make any unnecessary calls to emergency service operators. 

Including first aid as part of your classroom curriculum can be very valuable. Even though there is no knowing whether the skills will ever be required, it is always beneficial to be prepared for any emergency that may arise.

Written by Jennifer McLee

Education World Contributor

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