Figuring Out Fatherhood: Why First Aid Is So Important

14/08/2014 16:53 | Updated 22 May 2015

Figuring Out Fatherhood: Why First Aid is so important

I'm trained in First Aid, which is often useful when you work in an office; I mean, it takes five days' training to know how to give someone a plaster when they paper cut their finger or inadvertently staple their hand, of course. Suffice to say, it's not often that I have to administer CPR or pry people into the recovery position...apart from when they fall asleep during meetings.

But you never know when First Aid training will come in handy, and the other day was a case in point. It sounds cliched, but I had turned away for a second (or closed my eyes for a quick nap, I forget), when the sound of my one-year-old daughter's screaming pierced the air.

It was pretty clear what had happened from the sodden carpet and the rocking mug on its side: Jemima had pulled herself up onto the coffee table and knocked boiling tea down her stomach and arms.

This is where the First Aid training kicked in, and finally became useful. Immediately, I scooped her up and almost threw her (gently, I should add) into the kitchen sink, where I poured cold water all over her scalded skin. She cried more, of course - after all, who wouldn't? - but I continued to soak her chest and arms, which were turning an angry red before my eyes.

After a while she had calmed down, her screams settling to whimpers, but as a precaution my wife took her to the local A&E; where, naturally, we were worried that Social Services would be called.

After all, in the past few weeks my son has broken his arm, sustained more bumps and bruises than many other children (he thinks he's Superman and can fly, you see - gravity can be a real pain), and now my daughter is rushed in front of a doctor with burns. The NHS must have a file on my family about three inches thick...!

The medical staff were incredibly understanding, though; before my wife had even explained what had happened they looked at the burns, then at her, and asked "cup of tea?" An hour later, Jemima returned home sporting bandages on her forearms, looking like some kind of infant Rocky Balboa.

First Aid is something that every parent should learn, even if it's just the basics.


Would you know what to do if your baby choked on a mouthful of food, or if your toddler fell and smacked his head on the kerb?

Without sounding big-headed (also a result of smacking your head on the kerb), Jemima's burns would have been a lot worse had I not known what to do. Instead, they had cleared up in a day or so, without any lasting damage.

Take my advice: set aside half an hour this evening to read up on basic First Aid techniques, perhaps even enrolling yourself on a course (it's quick and easy to enrol online).

Whilst the worst you can expect in an office workplace is a slip, trip or fall, every parent knows that children get into all kinds of mishaps - and you never know when First Aid could prevent serious damage, or even save a life.

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