Like every parent I’m a fire fighter. I mean that in the most boring, not-at-all-exciting kind of way. I do things as and when they are most urgent. Things left undone stay on the back burner ’til they become the screamers that demand attention. So it is that I eventually do most of the things I mean to, or at least the ones that matter. Eventually.
I had thought about doing a first aid course when Spiderman was a baby. I looked into a few options but found they were too expensive during an unpaid year off work and also difficult to manage with a breastfed baby as most were day-long events. The arrival of Yoda didn’t exactly free up much spare time and, bar one trip to Temple Street for a steri-stripped eye for Spidey, I’d gotten cocky and the notion of doing a course had completely slipped my mind.
Yoda’s first febrile convulsion came in September 2012. I think I sat in the hospital kicking myself for my lack of any real first aid knowledge but again I did nothing about it. Then, last September, I wrote about my experience of these nasty but harmless seizures. Along with a dose of sympathy I was given a necessary push to do actually do a first aid course, and conveniently found that of one of our Irish Parenting Bloggers Niamh, runs first aid training over at The Nursery in Monkstown.I had no excuses as there was a place available on the next course. It took just a half-day on a Saturday at the Nursery’s premises in Monkstown which suited perfectly and at €50 the fee was very reasonable.
Delivered by Noeleen – an experienced nurse and First-Aid trainer, the session was structured into ‘modules’ dealing with various scenarios and eventualities and involved caring for adults and children alike. The main thrust of the first part (the ‘before cake’ part as I remember it) was on CPR and emergency responses. Noeleen delivered the theory which we then put into practise working on dummies – adults, children and also babies. There was a particular emphasis on what symptoms you should pay attention to in order to best inform the emergency services – which chillingly reminded me of my own experiences calling out ambulances for Yoda. She also covered the most likely emergency scenarios such a choking and dealing with injuries such as burns, fractures and sprains. Fever management and tending for a poorly child were covered, as were the more general topics of fainting, etc.
The course was delivered with a fairly small group – about 18 attendees. Most were expectant mums, first time mums or child carers. Pregnant with my third child, I must have looked like an absolute delinquent! The small group size meant there was plenty of scope for discussion and questions and also time to get to grips with some of the more tricky physical skills – like the baby CPR techniques.Noeleen gave really practical advice on all the topics. She had plenty of anecdotes to hand which really helped me to remember her tips. In particular I think she was really informative on the step-by-step stuff like telling us when to ring an ambulance when someone has collapsed, how to manage a patient while waiting for help etc. She taught us how to handle and position a patient and also how to use various pieces of equipment including breathing masks and a defibrillator.
The structure of the course and also the overall way it was run had clearly been thought through. Noeleen’s presentations were clear and well-organised so she covered all the topics outlined without having to cut any short (a bug-bear of mine). The premises was lovely, clean and really nicely presented. Niamh and Noeleen’s experience at running these courses was clear as there were well-timed breaks for tea / coffee and a very gorgeous Lemon Drizzle Cake (key to keeping a pregnant woman’s attention). This spot-on organisation made it easier to take in a great deal of information on the day. Also, as the course ended we were given handouts recapping the techniques learnt.All in all, I found the course excellent and would have great confidence recommending it to childminders, expectant parents – or slightly distracted ones like myself. I have even gone as far as suggesting my husband should try fit it in at some point as it would be ideal if both of us knew how to handle these situations. We’ll see how that pans out!
It goes without saying that I really hope I don’t have to use any of the skills I learnt but, as my experience has shown, things happen so best to be prepared. The Nursery are running a First Aid Course, the last before the Summer break, this Saturday 26 April 2014. Details are posted below. Note: I paid for and attended this first aid course on an entirely independent basis. I was not paid to write this review. I am just again quite disorganised and had planned to post this as a helpful nudge for other parents about 6 months ago, but was only reminded when I saw an advert for the up-coming course. Proof, if needed, of my fire-fighting nature.
Post script: twenty minutes after I posted this my daughter, nearly 3, had her first febrile convulsion in 9 months. She dropped to the floor just around the corner from me with a mouthful of toast, banged her head on the floor and fitted for between 2 and 3 minutes. I can now say, with first hand knowledge, she put the course to the test.
While I’ll never get used to seeing my Little Yoda’s body go through these horrible things, I felt much easier for knowing how to react to the dangers of choking, the head bang and the convulsion itself. With great help from five firemen and an ambulance crew my little gaggle of kiddos got to the hospital for a full check over. She has chicken pox but thankfully all is well.
Phew. Do a bloody first aid course people!