The day we learned how to save a life





There is no doubt that there is a lot to learn when it comes to having a new baby. There are so many products on the market and  we are busy investing our time researching  stylish buggies, looking for lightweight, streamlined, stylish features. Our highchairs, oh well the highchairs I should have attained a degree in after all of the research I carried out (I still reckon it’s in the post), our changing bags require test runs before committing to a brand considering   practicality, space etc. We invest so much time in our children’s accessories as we want the best of the best for them. But let’s get back to basics. Forget the accessories. How much time do we invest in knowing how to save a choking child? What if you were met with a medical emergency concerning your child. Would you know what to do? Would you know how to save a life? It might sound dramatic but it something to be considered.

One of my very close friends only a few months ago experienced a massive shock when her beautiful newborn little girl, without warning,  stopped breathing. My friend acted so quickly and thankfully her little darling is ok. But it can all happen so easily and so suddenly and knowing what to do is crucial.

Every year in Ireland, many people including children experience what are known as common medical emergencies. These are asthma, diabetes, seizures, poisoning, heart attack. In the event of any of these occurring it is often necessary to attempt resuscitation until emergency assistance arrives.

This is a skill everyone should learn at an early age. The youngest recorded save is a 5 year old boy in Scandanavia who saved his grandfather when he started chest compressions after the man went into cardiac arrest. The young boy had taken lessons in basic life support in school. In general, if chest compressions are performed within the first 5 minutes the survival rate is about 50%. This is vital information to prompt us to encourage training in basic life support in schools and in family homes. Personally, I really do think the health system should acquire a programme whereby they send out basic life support trainers to new mothers and fathers when they bring home a new baby. Here are a couple who have been handed this tiny little person and they are both petrified about keeping them safe. I will never forget when my babies were tiny and checking to see that they were still breathing in the middle of the night, looking to see their little poutey lips still had colour, just terrified that anything could happen and maybe not being able to do anything if it did.

Having two small children was enough for me to decide it was time  to learn basic life support (BLS). My youngest was baby led weaned and while she gagged often I would sometimes panic, not knowing the difference between gagging and choking. Learning the difference has given me to confidence to identify the difference as unnecessary panic can unnerve a child and mother. That said, it is so important to know what to do when met with an emergency.We decided as a family that it was important for us to know what to do to. Even though our eldest little girl was only 3 we knew it would be of benefit for her to listen in and to see what should be done in an emergency. So when Absolute Safety came to our home, Holly sat in while James  (Absolute Safety) demonstrated chest compressions, back blows, and chest thrusts. We wondered would she take anything from it but that evening when I went into her playroom she had her imaginery set up with her dolly on the floor telling her friends Chase and Skye (Paw patrol) to call for help and was performing chest compressions on dolly!!

James took us through life support for any situatuion which could arise in our home. He also took us through the use of a defibrillator (AED) which I think everyone should learn to do. To think that these pieces of equipment, or should I rephrase, crucial pieces of equipment are distributed around our local areas and only a handful of people know how to use them is shocking. In a lot of cases they are also locked up and people do not even know where a key is held for them defeating the purpose. They are installed in communities to save lives and I am so pleased that I now know how to use one after a thorough demonstration by James.

We were so pleased to have had the training in our home. My husband and I both agreed it was something we should have done a long time ago and also agreed that it is something we will be refreshing in another year or so to keep the procedures installed in our minds.

So when I am asked again by an expectant mother what do I I think is worth investing in for the arrival of a newborn I will definitely be advising to take a lesson in basic life support. Hopefully it will never be needed but it is one of the best investments in a family’s safety.

I hope this post is of help to you all

Celine x


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