Have you ever wondered how you’d react if you saw someone, especially a child, choking?
Or how you’d cope with one of the one in 20 under fives who will at some point suffer a seizure?
Do you give CPR to a child in the same way as an adult? How can you tell whether a bumped head is a case for the hospital or not?
Kay Dickinson, from Carnforth, often wondered this in the many jobs she has had where young children were involved.
And she has now launched a new business with offers paediatric first aid classes for parents, expectant parents and anyone interested – including children.
“I’ve worked in several places where we claimed to be ‘child-friendly’,” Kay said, “but none of them involved any kind of first aid training and I realised that if a child suddenly started choking, or had a fit then I wouldn’t have a clue what to do.
“I did a bit of research and realised with horror that the only courses that were offered were expensive and took two days and that unless it was part of their legal requirements, most businesses couldn’t afford to send staff on them.
“I then found Daisy First Aid, who had the same concerns as me and had decided to do something about the problem.
“They really impressed me with their approach to the issue and so I invested in the franchise for the Morecambe and Lancaster area and trained for my own Paediatric First Aid qualification so that I could help others and hopefully save lives.”
The risks of children choking on everyday food or objects is every parent’s worst fear, but as well as dealing with choking, Kay covers CPR and recovery positions for babies and children, different kinds of head injury, recognising and treating shock, dealing with allergic reactions and poisons as well as burns and scalds, fractures, bleeding and how to react to fits and seizures.
“Choking is the main worry that I get asked about all the time,” said Kay, “and we cover it extensively, with practical exercises with child and baby mannequins and talking about how to recognise it in very young children.
“What people don’t realise initially is that, like drowning, choking is silent and although an adult is able to let you know what is happening, very often a very young child can’t.
“One in 20 under fives will suffer some kind of fit and it is an absolutely terrifying experience for any parent to witness.
“Mostly, they will be caused by overheating, either from exertion, weather or fever, as a young brain isn’t able to control the body’s temperature until the child is four or five years old.
“What I’m teaching people isn’t to diagnose and treat these conditions but to have the knowledge and confidence to react in an emergency and keep the child breathing and comfortable until professional help arrives.”
Kay also stresses the need for every parent to have a plan in place to enable help to get to a casualty as quickly as possible, from knowing how an ambulance can access your property, especially if you have communal security doors, to having a first aid kit and tools such as windscreen breaking hammers and seatbelt cutters to hand.
Daisy First Aid are registered First Aid Trainers and have won several awards, not only for the content of the classes themselves, but also for their work in encouraging women into business and their ongoing support.
Kay is holding classes across the area, including at The Cornerstone in Lancaster, or you can host a class in the comfort of your own home. Businesses, schools, nurseries and other children’s groups can also book a class at their premises for either adults or children aged seven and over.
“As well as teaching parents and other adults how to treat their children, we’ve found the kids themselves are very enthusiastic and want to get involved, so we have started a Daisy Buds one hour class for seven and over, which shows the children how to assess someone to find out if they are conscious and perform CPR or recovery positions as well as choking, bleeding and calling for help,” said Kay.
“There is also a two hour class for for secondary school-aged children which covers the full class we teach but is devised especially to keep the children engaged.”
Kay, 45, said she has already had a lot of interest from local schools and nurseries, both for children and adults.
“A lot of school staff don’t have any first aid qualifications,” she said. “You only need them if you are looking after under fives, but to me it’s an essential thing.
“People are having babies and coming home and not having a clue what to do if their baby chokes.
“It’s really to give people that confidence. You hope you will never need it but it’s an important thing to have an assurance.
“It’s about giving people awareness. Defibrillators are becoming more common but people are scared of them because they don’t know how to use them.
“It’s just giving people that knowledge that they are not getting.”
To book a class or make an enquiry with Kay, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, like her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/daisyfirstaidlancaster or visit her website at www.daisyfirstaid.com/lancaster.