Teaching first aid to children or teenagers is a way to help prepare them for emergency medical situations they may encounter later in life. It is also a great way to help them build confidence and leadership skills. There are several different ways young people can learn essential first aid knowledge. Parents can take steps at home to educate them, but there are also courses at school, in the Boy Scouts, and through the American Red Cross to help children gain the skills needed to handle an emergency situation.
Acting Out Scenarios
There are several ways for parents to help teach their children first aid at home. A popular way to do this is to make believe, or act out, scenarios. This method helps a child build confidence for when a real emergency situation surfaces. You can use a child's stuffed animals as CPR dummies or have them practice calling 911 on a toy telephone.
First Aid for Children Today (F.A.C.T)
This course, offered through the American Red Cross, lasts for 10 to 14 hours and is aimed at children 5 to 8 years old. The program promotes a healthy lifestyle and teaches children injury prevention activities. Topics in the program include first aid, hygiene and personal safety. Teachers who include F.A.C.T. in their curriculum are given a "Leader's Kit."
First Aid Instruction in Boy Scouts
The Boy Scouts of America teaches first aid as part of its merit badge curriculum. Areas covered in this curriculum include how to get emergency medical assistance during a camping trip, how to create a first aid kit at home and how to use an automated external defibrillator. These items are discussed in the "Boy Scout Handbook," which is given to each Scout member.
Courses for Teenagers
Several courses for teenagers are available through hospitals, community centres and YMCAs. These can help teens seeking employment as lifeguards or babysitters. Some of these courses include Red Cross babysitting certification, water safety inspector training and health care provider training. These courses commonly end with an exam that, upon passing, certifies the teen in that specific course area.
One way teachers can encourage their students to learn more about first aid is by having them share with the class stories about when they were involved in an emergency situation. Then ask the class how they would have helped the student. This will get the students thinking about all kinds of emergency situations and make them more comfortable in handling a situation.
Parents should keep a note near the phone with 911 instructions in case their child needs to call. This should include their home address.
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