Does your child know First Aid?

16 Apr

The Park District brochure arrived the other day and I immediately signed my 6- and 8-year olds up for the fantastic American Red Cross ‘Home Alone’ and ‘Basic First Aid for Children’ classes. They are single 1 1/2 hour classes and the kids enjoy them. I felt a wee twinge of guilt the first year when I dropped off my then 6-year old son, feeling like I should announce that I wasn’t actually going to leave him alone until he was older and spending even more time reassuring him that I had no intention of leaving him alone until he was older. BUT, I explained that the reason for taking the classes was that it would give him more confidence and the skills to deal with a crisis if it did happen. I explained that I’ve been certified in CPR and First Aid almost continuously since I was 16. Fortunately I’ve never had to do anything but address broken bones, minor head injuries and lots of hurt feelings, but even then I didn’t panic because I’d been trained over and over and over again, so reaction becomes automatic.

Why start kids at the age of 6 learning about being home alone and basic First Aid? First, as a single mom, what if something happens to me and the kids need to react? Even if they only remain calm enough to call 911, at least I know they will be found and cared for by emergency services. Same logic holds for any family situation. What if they are with a babysitter? Grandma? At a friend’s house? Do they know what to do? Second, learning basic First Aid helps them to understand that blood does not always equal death – they know to apply pressure and get help. Third, annual repetition of the class will teach the appropriate reaction to an accident and help them identify dangers from a respected authority figure (a welcome break from mom droning on).

Knowledge is power. Give your kids the right kind of power, the power to be safe and to recognize danger – contact your American Red Cross today and enroll your kids in Basic First Aid and Home Alone.

And parents – I’ve learned, if you don’t panic at the blood streaming down their face, your kids won’t panic either – think about signing yourself up as well.


9 Responses to “Does your child know First Aid?”

  1. Stefanie April 16, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    Rebecca this is a great post! Feel like doing any more guest blogging for us???

    Pediatric Safety

  2. Gail April 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    I think it’s great that your kids were able to take a class at such a young age, but keep in mind that not all kids are developmentally ready for a first aid course. I teach CPR & First Aid and am comfortable teaching the skills to kids. But when parents ask about certification in First Aid or CPR I ask about a child’s level of maturity and ability to handle the responsibility. My guidelines are if a child is old enough to babysit another child then they are mature enough to be certified.

    In addition to the Red Cross, the American Heart Association and American Safety & Health Institute also offer good First Aid courses.

    • rebeccasavekids April 20, 2010 at 11:07 am #


      Thanks for your great recommendations about other sources for classes!

  3. Kristen April 18, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Great post; great suggestion. Thanks for the tip!

    • rebeccasavekids April 20, 2010 at 11:08 am #


      Thanks for reading – some other readers have come up with other great suggestions on places to be certified as well.

  4. Adrienne April 19, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

    Rebecca, this is a great post, I work as a school nurse and I am always teaching younger children how to help and response for they have a nose bleed etc, however it is usually the adults reactions around children that scare the child. A nose bleed will stop however teaching a child to react and be scared might take a life time to undo.

    • rebeccasavekids April 20, 2010 at 11:03 am #


      Thanks for your comment and it’s great to know a school nurse is helping kids deal calmly and responsibly with a crisis. Sometimes a non-parent is the best teacher!

  5. Karen Kay April 21, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    sounds like a great class for my 7 year old. I will look for it.



    • rebeccasavekids April 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

      Karen, In addition to the American Red Cross some other readers have suggested American Heart Association and American Safety & Health Institute. Your local park district is probably a good place to start. Hope they enjoy the class!

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