New South Wales
A CPR course is a must for all parents and carers, but its so easy to put off actually doing the training. One North Shore Mum went along to a children’s CPR course, CPR Kids’ Knowledge For Life, which is especially for expectant parents (and grandparents!) and found out how to perform simple techniques that could literally save a child’s life.
From the day I found out I was expecting my daughter, I planned to do a CPR course. Like most expectant mums, I was haunted by images of my little girl choking on something while I stood by, helpless. But like lots of other expectant mums, I somehow never found the time to actually arrange to attend a course. Before she was born, I found myself confused about where to enroll; after she was born, I found myself struggling to juggle life with a newborn and ended up convincing myself that watching a few CPR videos on YouTube would do in a pinch.
Attending CPR Kids’ Knowledge For Life Class at North Shore Private Hospital was eye-opening. Just an hour in, I realised how many gaps there were in my knowledge. We were given information, and then had to decide what treatment to administer in a series of imaginary scenarios. I hadn’t known that a serious cause for concern is when a child falls more than twice their own height- even if they appear perfectly fine. I hadn’t known that a soft, jelly-like lump on the head is a more dangerous symptom than a hard “egg”. I did know not to put butter (or flour, as one woman suggested!) on burns, but besides that fact, most of the children I treated in my imaginary scenarios suffered because of my ignorance! I clearly had a lot to learn.
The course gives you a solid grounding in CPR skills with information and practical training (yes, you do get a baby-sized and then a child-sized mannequin to practise on!) but there’s only extremely educational modules on fevers, common illnesses, head bumps and burns. Besides the imaginary scenarios, we also watched (sometimes difficult) videos of different kinds of breathing problems children experience (such as whooping cough) and saw images of other injuries, such as photos that helped us identify different kinds of burns.
The class is taught by paediatric nurses, in our case a knowledgeable man and woman, with experience as nurses in emergency and as paramedics. At time their stories were confronting; but hearing real stories from people who had seen how attempting CPR can be the difference between a drowning victim making a full recovery or sustaining permanent brain damage made the lessons hit home.
There’s excellent follow up information with newsletters, video refreshers and summary sheets offered via email after the course.
Overall, I would highly recommend this course. Sometimes reinforcing what you already know is enough to boost your confidence in a crisis, but having a thorough grounding in CPR is an absolute essential for any mum. Now, when my daughter occasionally chokes a little on something she’s eating, my heart doesn’t immediately leap into my throat while I freeze up; instead I’m calm and feel in control, because I know the best thing to do should the worst happen. That in itself is priceless, and may one day be all that matters.