Did you know that cling film can be useful if your child scalds themselves? Or what the signs of danger are if they bump their head?
Lots of parents take antenatal classes to prepare for the birth of their children, but taking some time out to learn basic first aid could be just as useful.
That is the belief of mum Angharad Spooner, from Tonyrefail, who attended a free BabySafe class run by first aid charity St John Wales just before the birth of her second child.
“When my seven-year-old daughter Verity was a baby she accidentally rolled off the bed and I just went into massive panic mode,” explains the 34-year-old, who also works at her local Thomastown play centre.
“She was fine, but it just made me realise I didn’t know what to look out for and wouldn’t really have known what to do in an emergency.
“There were lots of horror stories in the newspapers about children having accidents, choking and I was heavily pregnant with my son Levi at the time.
“When I heard about the BabySafe course at the community centre where I work, I knew it was something I definitely needed to do.”
Every year, more than half a million children under five need to go to hospital after having an accident at home.
A further 67,000 are injured or killed simply playing in their gardens.
St John Wales is launching eight films at the Senedd in Cardiff today, with advice on how to deal with common accidents and injuries such as choking, fever, burns and scalds and other medical emergencies.
“I think the idea of the videos and the classes is fantastic,” says Angharad.
“I was much more calm, relaxed and confident second time round and I think the classes were a lot to do with that.
“I think it is something every parent should have a look at or find out more about the course.
“When we were doing the course there was an awful story about a boy on holiday who choked on a piece of sausage.
“We learnt that the most important thing was to remove the problem so the child can breathe, even if that means blowing the object into their lungs.”
The films will now form part of the BabySafe courses, which are run in local communities and at St John Wales training centres throughout Wales.
The videos are CPR for children; CPR for babies; burns and scalds; fever in a child; poisons, head injury, choking baby and choking child.
Angela O’Sullivan, first aid trainer at St John Wales, says: “I’ve delivered child and infant first aid courses to groups of parents and carers across Wales. It’s very rewarding and the main feedback I receive is how confident they feel after learning these vital first aid skills.
“A lot of time what you do in those first minutes of an emergency situation could dramatically increase your chance of survival.
“Our aim is get a first aider on every street in Wales and I’d advise new parents and anyone who cares for a child to contact us and sign up to a course in their area.”
* The St John Wales’ BabySafe project provides free first aid courses to young parents in the South Wales Valleys.
With support from Legal and General, the project has now provided first aid training to more than 1,000 young mums and dads in Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf.
St John Wales has recently secured Lottery grants to roll this programme out to young parents in Rhyl and Bedwas.
For a free first aid guide and more information on the courses St John Wales offers, call 0845 678 5646 or visit the website .
A South Wales childminder is urging parents and carers to watch St John Cymru Wales’ new BabySafe films – after her first aid skills helped save her daughter’s life.
Louise Pitman, 39, took part in a BabySafe course while training to be a childminder.
She knew it was a legally required skill for looking after children, but didn’t realise quite how quickly she would need to use it on her own child.
“Just two days after finishing the course my daughter Aimee, who was two at the time, and my eight-year-old son Morgan were eating fruit, along with some other children I was looking after,” she recalls.
“I turned my back for a moment and Morgan starting shouting, ‘Mum, quick, Aimee’s choking!’
“Aimee was red in the face, unable to breathe and was getting very distressed, but thanks to the training I knew exactly what to do. I grabbed Aimee and placed her over my lap, giving her two sharp blows to her back and the grape popped out. I felt calm and confident and was able to help Aimee without panicking and causing the other children to get upset.
“Since then I’ve had to deal with a few minor bumps and bruises with children in my care, but thanks to my training I feel confident I can deal with whatever medical emergencies come my way. I would advise anyone who has contact with young children, particularly parents, to attend a BabySafe course. Even if you’re not a childminder, basic first aid knowledge could arm you with the skills needed to save a life.”
MAKE YOUR HOME SAFER
Get down on your hands and knees and view each room from a low height.
Re-arrange your home, move furniture or electrical appliances such as stereos, DVD and video players and the telephone, if necessary re-locate ornaments, CDs and remote controls.
Consider all dangers – electrical sockets, dangling wires, cupboard doors, drawers and low furniture are all potential danger areas.
Check for windows that don’t lock, doors that could bang shut on little fingers and unprotected electrical sockets.
Attach cushioned corner protectors to any sharp corners of coffee tables and furniture.
Fix cupboard locks in your kitchen and utility area.
You may also want to consider a fridge lock if you have a low level fridge.
If you have an open fireplace, this is like an open playground to your baby, keep it out of bounds with a secure fireguard, and make sure matches are kept out of sight and reach.
Stairs are dangerous and your baby will just love to try and climb them, this makes a safety gate an essential piece of home safety equipment. They can also be used to restrict access to ‘off limits’ rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Keep medicines and cleaning fluids or anything else potentially poisonous in locked cupboards and you can ensure your baby will be able to enjoy exploring your home safely.
For comprehensive information about keeping your baby safe at home and outside it, contact the Child Accident Prevention Trust