First aid makes the difference between life and death, sometimes. More recently, with a series of accidents involving school children, it is clear that a little knowledge of first aid will go a long way in saving lives.
As Ravi Kumar, consultant paediatrician, Apollo Hospitals, says, accidents can happen anywhere. While at home, it is the task of the parents, but once the child reaches the school, the responsibility for the child’s well-being shifts to the teaching and non-teaching staff.
“It is our responsibility to see that all environments are safe for children, whether at home, or at school. We must take safety beyond the hospital environment,” Preetha Reddy, MD, Apollo Hospitals, says. On the occasion of World First Aid Day, Apollo Children’s Hospital held a workshop in first aid and basic life support skills for teachers and parents in the city on Saturday. About 45 teachers from 13 schools and colleges underwent the training for about four hours. The stress was on hands-on training in first aid techniques: knowing what to do, and also, knowing what not to do. Once first-aid is given, professional help can be summoned.
Indira Jayakumar, senior consultant, Paediatric Trauma and Emergency, Apollo Children’s Hospitals says the ability to perform cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), being familiar with first aid procedures, knowing how to react when a child is choking, bleeding, having a seizure or an asthma attack, are important skills for both teachers and parents to have.
Certain self-limiting illnesses and minor injuries may not even require medical assistance past first-aid intervention. It consists of simple and, in some cases, potentially life-saving techniques that an individual can perform with minimal training. The key in first aid is Compression (C), Airway (A) and Breathing (B) principle, Dr. Indira adds.
Jayashree Unnikrishnan, Montessori teacher, Lady Andal School, was one of the participants of the workshop.
She says, "Everyone needs to know first aid techniques, but it is especially so for both teaching and non-teaching staff in schools. With little children especially, there is always a vulnerability and a heightened risk, because they are out playing and are not aware of how to protect themselves." She also plans to impart knowledge from the training programme to others in school. For R. Kalyani, Nursery Section teacher, DAV School, the takeaway is the stress on teachers remaining calm and not panicking when a child falls ill or sustains an injury. “It is also essential to ensure that other children are not perturbed at the sight of blood or the cries of the injured. Having a log of the medical details of the child, contact information and access to a hospital nearby are essential.’’