All children should learn basic first aid – such as dealing with choking, bleeding and shock – at school, the British Red Cross says. Its survey of 1,960 adults suggests that 90% of the population believe the subject should be compulsory.
The Red Cross says one million children are injured every year.
It argues that simple first-aid techniques, such as tilting an unconscious person’s head back, could save hundreds of lives.
We know that emergencies can happen anywhere, but only seven per cent of people in the UK can correctly recall first aid advice and feel confident and willing to give first aid. Simple skills learned in just a few minutes – like what do if someone becomes unconscious – can save lives.
First Aid in Education should be on the curriculum – The Red Cross recommends that schools make life-saving skills and resilience building part of core subjects like science and PE. Our studies show that first aid lessons give young people life-saving skills and the confidence to use them.
Yet only 20 per cent of secondary school students in England and Wales say they have learned life-saving skills in the classroom and just 4 per cent of them would step up in aid of someone needing first aid assistance, according to an ICM poll in January.
The Red Cross also published a survey of 11 to 14-year-olds which suggested that only 42% knew how to treat somebody who had injured their hand with a knife. Some 41% of the 368 spoken to would have removed the weapon from the wound, increasing blood loss. Another 6% would have applied pressure to the knife in an attempt to stop bleeding.
Joe Mulligan, head of first aid at the British Red Cross, said: “If we are serious about reducing the incidents of injury and death then we need to make sure that people have the skills to respond in an emergency”.
“There are certain life-saving skills that all young people should know, wherever they live in the UK, and teaching children in school is the ideal way to make this happen”.
Earlier this month, the Government announced draft plans for the new curriculum making no mention of first aid education at all. These proposals are now open to public consultation; and we have less than two months to shape the future lives of millions, by getting first aid into schools so every child can learn how save a life.
What is encouraging is that young people themselves are overtly keen to learn first aid. The ICM poll found that 94 per cent of secondary school students would feel more confident to help a friend or family member needing first aid if they received training. Additionally, 91 per cent of students would like to learn first aid in schools.
These numbers should be a massive wake up call for each and every one of us: teachers, parents, politicians and children themselves. First aid education must be more accessible in the classroom to build a generation of better citizens who possess life-saving skills. The evidence shows the UK needs to build a generation of lifesavers by teaching them first aid at school from primary school level.
First Aid in Education should be on the curriculum – GK First Aid Training offer a number of First Aid Courses. We offer both the 1 Day Emergency First Aid at Work and the 3 Day First Aid at Work Course. Both of these courses can be delivered directly to you in your workplace. Call us directly on 0800 774 7034 to discuss your requirements.