Children Learning First Aid
According to an About .com article, “Children, First Aid and What Your Tween Should Know”, by Jennifer O’Donnell, expert on children’s issues, the first thing that children need to learn in emergencies is to remain calm. They need to be taught not to panic by taking deep breaths, focusing on what needs to be done, and doing it step by step.
Children also need emergency contact information. Such contact information should include phone numbers of trusted adults, the police, the poison control center, the fire department, and the family doctor. Children should also understand how and when to call 911.
Children need to know how to stock a first aid kit. According to an article, “Teaching First Aid to Kids”, posted on the website, Five J’s: Striving to Raise Lifelong Learners, a good first-aid kit should include bandages, sterile adhesive tape, gauze pads; scissors, safety pins, tweezers, a flashlight, cotton balls, a non-glass thermometer, latex first aid gloves, alcohol wipes, anti-bacterial ointment, an instant ice pack, a bottle of distilled water, a first-aid chart or book, and a list of emergency contact phone numbers.
Once the children have stocked their first aid kits, parents should review and explain how to use them. Parents should teach their children to clean and bandage surface wounds. Parents should demonstrate to their children how to activate the emergency ice pack, and how to use it to treat sprains or swellings. Parents should show their children how to remove splinters with tweezers.
Some parents may feel inadequate teaching first aid to their children. Such parents can have their children learn first aid through classes, such as those offered through the Red Cross. The link to information about Red Cross classes is provided in the Resources section.
First Aid Books and Resources
Regardless of the amount of first aid instruction children are given, they may forget it when the time comes to react. Providing children with a user friendly first aid book or guide is essential. There are many first-aid books on the market for children, as well as downloadable charts on the Internet.Parents should look for specific criteria in choosing a good first aid book for children. Children’s First aid books should walk them through any situation they may face. A good first aid book for children should explain how to handle basic emergencies, such as animal bites, insect bites, snake bites, bleeding, burns, bumps, blisters, splinters, and eye injuries. It should also include instructions for dealing with choking; fainting, and drowning. Also included should be instructions for dealing with sprains, broken bones, frostbite and hyperthermia.
According to various reviews in The School Library Journal, the following books are three very good first aid book choices to consider. They can be found in most bookstores, on-line bookstores, and in libraries.
1. Karen Buhler Gales book, The Kids' Guide to First Aid: All about Bruises, Burns, Stings, Sprains, and Other Ouches (Williamson Publishing Company, 2001), is geared to children in fourth through sixth grade. This is an exceptional book providing children with information for responding to bumps, cuts, bruises, stings, splinters, and more serious situations such as burns and choking. It also provides instruction on performing the Heimlich maneuver and stopping bleeding. Each section provides a situation and explains what to do and when and whom to call for assistance, if needed.
2.Maribeth and Darwin Boelts’ book, Kids to the Rescue (Parenting Press, 2003), is geared for ages four to eight. It is a collection of scenarios for role playing. It begins with basic first aid emergencies such as nosebleeds and advances through 14 first aid emergencies children could face. In each scenario, a common activity results in an accident. Each accident scenario is punctuated with a list of appropriate first aid techniques.
3. First Aid for You, by Rebecca Weber (Compass Point Books, 2004), is geared for Kindergarten through third grade. This kid-friendly book teaches children how to deal with cuts, scrapes, bites, stings, bruises, broken bones, choking and other common first aid emergencies.
In addition to first aid books for children, parents can find free printable resources, lesson plans, and other first aid information for children via the website, Teacher Vision. Parents can download and print a free first aid coloring book via the website, Scribd. They can access a first aid coloring book, an emergency first aid CPR chart, a printable chart of first aid procedures, and first aid games via the website, Scouting Web. Links for all of these free first aid materials are listed in the Resources section.
Picture credit: Christian Svensson