Two nights ago I had the good fortune of taking a Red Cross First Aid for children course that had been organized by our parent-cooperative preschool. The last time I took a First Aid/CPR course was thirteen years ago when I was in AmeriCorps! Not only had I mostly forgotten everything I'd learned back then, but I also realized that some of the recommendations had changed.
What should you do if a child goes into shock? If a child is lying on the floor, unconscious, what is the first thing you would do? How do you help a child who is choking, and how do you help an infant who is choking? Two days ago I had no idea how to answer any of these questions (at least not accurately), and now I do.
As a parent, the thought that my children might get badly hurt of become gravely ill is horrifying--so I'd chosen more or less not to think about it. Ever. But when the opportunity to take the class came up, I realized it was my responsibility to my own children, to my children's friends and their parents, and to everyone around me to learn how to respond in emergency situations. I now possess the knowledge to actually safe a life, which, if you think about it, is pretty much the most powerful knowledge anyone can have.
I highly, highly encourage you to take a Red Cross First Aid/CPR class and get the basic certification, which takes as little as three hours. You can find classes in America by clicking here, and in Sweden by clicking here (if you'd like to take a class in Sweden this year, you'll have to arrange a private class, but next year there should be more public options available).
You can even take an online-only course to familiarize yourself with the basic techniques. You won't get the certification, but you'll have the knowledge. (While nothing beats in-class learning where you can practice the techniques on dolls/mannequins and other students, knowing the basic techniques is incredibly helpful if you are confronted with an emergency situation).
At the very least, you can review this reference guide to pediatric first aid/CPR/AED.
You can also download a first aid app so you have life-saving information at your fingertips at all times. Find the American version here and the Swedish version here. As my instructor noted the other night, it might be worth putting aside Instagram and Facebook for a few minutes while you review the life-saving information on the app every now and then.
Enrollment in a course would make a great baby registry gift, too. There are only so many cute onesies a newborn can wear anyway. =)
Photo by me.