First aid for parents: Equip yourself with the knowledge necessary to keep your children as safe as possible

“Education is the key to making sure you can provide the best care for your child in an emergency situation,” says Regi Geissler, RN, WWD Trauma Coordinator at HSHS St. Joseph’s and Sacred Heart hospitals. Unfortunately, a recent poll conducted by the University of Michigan found that “four in ten parents of young children have received no first aid training, and thus may be unprepared to handle common medical situations.”

To ensure the safety of your family, Geissler suggests the following:

TAKE A FIRST AID/CPR/AED COURSE 
This American Red Cross course instructs parents how to deal with issues such as burns and cuts, as well as what to do in the event that a child has a breathing or heart-related emergency.

KEEP TOXIC PRODUCTS OUT OF REACH AND THE POISON-CONTROL NUMBER HANDY
“Most of the time, accidental poisonings can be prevented by storing medications and toxic products in their original packaging—up high and away from your children’s reach,” Geissler says. If your child comes into contact with solvent, detergent, or poison of any kind, immediately call 1.800.222.1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

LEARN CHOKING SAFETY 
“If a child is coughing or gagging, encourage them to cough—it’s the most effective way to dislodge whatever is partially blocking their airway,” Geissler says. “If your child isn’t coughing, call 911, perform back-blows and abdominal thrusts until the object is forcefully coughed up. If your child becomes unresponsive, slowly lower them to the ground and begin CPR.”

For more information about upcoming classes and how to register, call 715.717.1600 for HSHS Sacred Heart and 715.717.7439 for HSHS St. Joseph’s.

To find a First Aid/CPR/AED course near you, visit redcross.org/take-a-class.

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