Should parents know the basic lifesaving and first aid techniques, and CPR in thewater?
Every skill which can help your child today or save life of someone else before the ambulance arrives is desirable. It doesn’t mean acting as a doctor or a lifeguard, but knowing how to react properly in those horrifying moments. The worst thing you can do is do nothing, get petrified and panic.
What I do on a daily basis is teaching children how to swim, but the first thing I teach them is how to feel safe in the water and around it. I teach them how to float and behave in critical situations. I teach them how to master the safety methods for helping others without putting themselves in danger. Why wouldn’t then parents themselves master the basic lifesaving (CRP) and first aid techniques?
I will tell you a story my cousin recently told me.
Ever since they got their third child, they’ve been going on holidays with their friends to the same place every year. Their children are of similar age. They get along quite well and like playing together. A dream holiday for parents. As a usual morning routine after breakfast, they were having coffee near the pool as their children were playing in the pool. There were both swimming children and those children wearing the inflatable armbands. It was a break time, as usual when they are at the seaside. All the youngsters got an ice-cream, yet one ice-cream remained in his hand! - His voice trembled with uneasiness as he was telling me the story - He spotted some pink armbands next to his feet.
This story has a happy ending, unlike many. This relaxed summer holiday could have turned into a tragedy just because the parents weren’t careful enough.
A four-year-old girl took off her armbands and then returned to the pool to get her rubber duck toy… She slipped and sank… In the pool full of children and all the noise they were making there was no one who noticed the girl floating in the pool... My cousin jumped in and took her out.. at that moment she turned pale.. It happened in less than a second. Still staying focused, the first thing that crossed his mind was to shout to his friend “get the women and children away and call for help”. He instinctively started performing first aid reanimation (CPR). There were no lifeguards on duty! But among the guests sitting next to the pool there was a doctor who carried on with the reanimation… They were lucky! They got her back. They took the girl to a nearby hospital to get a detailed examination, as a matter of precaution, where she spent three days under supervision.
When his emotions subsided, I asked him: How did you know what to do at that point? I knew he didn’t have any first aid qualifications, not to mention CPR qualifications. “I never planned to have such a thing happen to me, all I was thinking about at that point was how to make her breathe again.” Then, he stopped for a moment and asked me: Was I allowed to perform CPR technique since I wasn’t trained for that?” Yes of course!
What should we do in those cases? The worst thing you can do in those cases is do nothing at all!!! In such cases there isn’t much room for thinking or panicking!!!! There are basic steps one has to take then, until the ambulance arrives – try to bring the person back to life – perform the CPR. There are people who do it instinctively (like my cousin) and there are those who underwent a training on that. The crucial thing is to react on time.
The intention of this text is not to scare you, but only to make you aware and encourage you to think, and make you realise that swimming is a life skill, a skill you can “give” to your child, and that inadequate behaviour near the water or in the water can lead to accidents. Of course, the key moment is to prevent that from happening and make sure that the children are safe, both in the water and out of it.
Don’t look aside: No matter if your child is one, five or 15 years old. No matter if he/she is a swimmer or not, in the water or around it, don’t let him/her out of your sight. I don’t mean that you should be his/her shadow and stalk them but be always cautious. Especially when there are a lot of children in the water or around it.
No room for being relaxed: If you have decided to put some water props on a non- swimming child, there is no room for being relaxed and enjoying your coffee, because a tragedy can happen in a blink of an eye.
Talk and talk: It is our duty as parents, aunts, uncles, all of us who are around children to talk with them about the worst scenarios – to educate them. Educate yourselves, in that way you will educate your child too.
Follow the rules: If we follow the rules of the pool, public swimming areas and teach our children to follow them too, we also reduce the risk of unwanted situations and possible fatal outcomes which can be caused by breaking and not respecting the rules.
Enrol your child in a swimming school as soon as you can. First of all, so that he/she can learn how to float on the water, and then what he/she can and mustn’t do in the water and around it. Then, so that he/she could master the basic survival techniques through a play: advanced personal and life-saving skills. Swimming techniques will be easily mastered later on.
Everybody who is working with children and swimming should learn the basic life-saving techniques and undergo not only the theoretical but also a practical training
and revise those skills and knowledge several times a year.
With a bit of our effort we can become super heroes: Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, godparents… it is more than preferable to know how to swim, but of course, it is not “mandatory” to have life-saving skills and to provide first aid next to the pool. But always bear in mind the fact that you can save somebody’s life, if you do. If there are no expert teams for education about personal and advanced life-saving skills in your nearby swimming school, I’m sure they can refer you to the right place for that in your town.
Take them out of the water.
Turn them to one side, so that the water could get out if it’s still in their mouth.
Shake them to see if there are any reactions, to see if they can hear you.
If there is no response, shout, call for help.
Before the help arrives start with the reanimation – CPR! Put your left hand on the person’s chest, then put your right hand over it and make 30 chest compressions. It is preferable to press the very centre of the chest strongly and fast.
If you can, and if you are able, you should do the rescue breaths. Tilt the person’s head back, pinch his/her nose, and cover his/her mouth with your mouth. Breathe into the person’s mouth twice and repeat 30 compression on the chest…This really is a demanding skill..
The worst thing you can do is do absolutely nothing.
You may save somebody’s life until the ambulance arrives. “