'Teach first aid to early years children'
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Pre-school children are capable of learning and performing basic first aid in an emergency situation, according to a new study.
Researchers from Haukeland University Hospital in Norway evaluated the effects of a first aid course delivered to fourand fiveyear-olds attending Hellemyren Barnehage Kindergarten in Bergen.
The children were given six first aid lessons, lasting 30 to 40 minutes each, led by a trained instructor. They were taught the 'five finger rule' - look at the person, talk to them, touch them to try and wake them, call emergency services and give comfort - as well as how to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Two months after children completed the first aid course, researchers tested them on their knowledge by creating a scenario where they had to provide first aid to a pretend unconscious victim.
They found that 70 per cent of the children assessed consciousness correctly and remembered the telephone number of the emergency services, 60 per cent were able to assess the patient's breathing and 40 per cent accomplished other tasks, such as remembering the recovery position and how to check airways.
Those children who were reluctant to perform first aid in the scenario - possibly because of fear of failure under test conditions, said the authors - were able to demonstrate their knowledge and skills when observed in everyday play situations.
Kindergarten staff reported that the children who received the training also became more helpful and empathetic. Some even taught their peers and family members the first aid techniques.
Lead author Dr Bollig said, 'Teaching the children first aid led to positive changes in social responsibility and empathic behaviour, in addition to acquiring first aid knowledge and skills.
'Starting first aid education in kindergarten could probably lead to first aid as a normal activity of daily life. First aid training should begin in the kindergarten, via play, and be reinforced throughout school to increase confidence and encourage people to provide first aid.'
Further information: 'Effects of first aid training in the kindergarten - a pilot study' is published in BioMed Central's Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine (www.biomedcentral.com)