So you’ve booked your flights, packed the sunscreen and swimmers, and invested in that must have inflatable flamingo. But before you get close the zip on your suitcase, there’s one holiday essential you’ve probably forgotten!
And it is, without doubt, the most important item a parent can pack. That item is knowledge. Or more specifically the knowledge of exactly what to do in the event of a medical emergency.
Like most new parents, Mr Eats World and I vigilantly planned our first major holiday with a then 5-month old Raffles. I painstakingly ticked all the boxes on our long preparation list and spent wads of money on a primo portable cot, packed multiple changes of clothes, familiar toys, nappies, blankets and a specially prepared first aid kit, which I fussed and sweated over to ensure we were covered for every possible emergency. Which was all well and good, until it occurred to me that in the event of one occurring, I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do with it.
And so I booked straight into a Kids First Aid course. Something I believe is one of the best investments I ever made for my kids, particularly given our penchant for hauling their tiny arses to far-flung destinations where access to medical attention can be a little less accessible due to language barriers and distance.
Now, before you start your judgy-wudgy tut-tutting and blindly accuse me of being irresponsible for taking my little ones to such out of the way places, I’m not actually talking about dragging them kicking and screaming across the deserts of Outer Mongolia on the back of a goat (although I have to admit I probably would given half the opportunity). Seriously, even somewhere as family friendly as a Fiji Island may mean you’re a good hour by boat from the nearest hospital in the event of an emergency. While your resort will have some first aid facilities, your first response is the one that may prove the difference between life and death.
As a parent, seeing your child in an emergency is horrifying, but feeling helpless in that situation is worse.
Kids First Aid courses are designed to teach parents and caregivers how to respond to 10 of the most common first aid emergency situations that involve children. The courses are delivered exclusively by experienced paramedics, many parents themselves, who are uniquely qualified in emergency care with real-life experiences under their belt.
Given Raffles penchant for concussing himself, it has come in very useful indeed. But, seven years after my first Kids First Aid course, I confess my knowledge was getting rusty. And with two small children depending on me, the opportunity of a refresher course was too important to pass up.
After an intensive afternoon with NSW Ambulance Intensive Care Specialist and Kids First Aid instructor, Alan Cunneen, I’m now up to speed on the correct first aid protocol in the chilling event of one of my kids – or indeed an adult in my company – suffering from breathing difficulties, choking, fits, fevers, asthma, allergies, poisoning, burns, drowning, bleeding, fractures, and head or spinal injury.
Imagining my child in an emergency scenario is chilling, especially far from home, but I now feel much more prepared to respond calmly and confidently should an unexpected crisis occur.
The course also validated my belief that if you plan on travelling with kids and can’t answer the following four questions with a resounding yes, you shouldn’t be going anywhere!
1. Do you know how to give CPR? Probably the most important single piece of first aid knowledge any parent needs to know is how and when to perform CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Current CPR Protocol is to give 30 compressions followed by two breaths.
2. Do you know how to place a child in the recovery position? It is vital to understand the correct recovery position for adults, children and infants to prevent choking in unconscious patients.
3. Do you have basic first aid knowledge? Given that many basic first aid response protocols change, make sure your knowledge of protocols is current.
4. Do you have a current travel first aid kit? Does it include – at a minimum -the following items;
- The phone number of your destination’s local emergency services (In Australia, emergency services can be reached on 000 but the number differs in other countries)
- Infant thermometer
- Infant paracetamol
- Infant antihistamine
- Antiseptic cream
- Plasters/Band Aids
- Infant insect repellent
- Rehydration powder
- Sting relief cream or spray
- Assorted bandages
- Surgical tape for holding dressings
- Safety pins
- Any necessary prescription medications
- A current first aid manual
To arm yourself with all the necessary first aid knowledge you’ll need to deal with the most common childhood emergencies at home or away, Kids First Aid hold courses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Perth and Adelaide. To book and find the closest course visit http://www.kidsfirstaid.com.au.