Teaching kids how to do anything can be quite the chore. They rarely understand what you are talking about, and when they do they often don’t understand why it is important to learn about it. Many children like learning but if they catch even the slightest sniff of boredom they will turn away in an instant. But this doesn’t mean that kids don’t need to learn how to do all sorts of practical things. Don’t just assume that there will always be an adult present to help them figure out what to do in life. One thing that we rarely train kids to handle well are emergency situations. We assume that in the event of an emergency an adult will be present to calmly lead the situation to a good conclusion. However, even if there is an adult present, this does not mean that they will know what to do. It also does not mean that a well trained child might not be of some assistance. This is particularly true of medical emergencies, which all of us would prefer some EMT or doctor to handle. There are, unfortunately, many situations where an adult is not present at all, meaning that children need to figure out what to do. In these types of situations some basic first aid training can go a long way. If a child understands how to splint a broken bone or put pressure on a bleeding wound, a life could be saved. Although it might be impossible to teach your children everything they need to know about first aid, you can teach them a few basics that could come in handy in a difficult situation. One imporant skill is splinting a broken bone. Another is caring for a serious cut that is bleeding excessively. Read below about how to teach your children how to perform these important skills:
1. Splinting a broken bone. Obviously you need to explain that splinting is something you do only when you are away from major medical care. Don’t splint a bone if an ambulance is coming soon. Splinting is generally what you do when you need to move someone who has a broken bone. Also, always explain to the children that in almost all situations the first step in treating a sick person is to get help. This should be overemphasized, and especially with young children. Teach them to carefully take two sturdy sticks and very gently tie bits of clothing or cloth around the sticks and the broken limb. Have them practice on their friends and on you. Ask them what they would use to make a splint if there was nothing obvious around them.
2. Stopping bleeding. This one is important regardless of whether or not the EMTs are coming. In a situation with major blood loss it is important to try to stanch the flow of blood. Explain to the children that although this type of situation is scary and gross that they still need to find a way to help; it is important. Tell them take a piece of cloth (maybe a shirt or towel) and firmly press it to the wound. This could require the help of several children. Make sure that they understand how important it is to stop the blood from coming out. Practice with a garden hose stuck under a person’s arm. Have them try to stop the water from emerging from the mouth of the hose.
By teaching your children these two skills they might be able to help save a life–maybe even your own.