19/09/2012 11:22 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Four Out Of Five Parents Don't Know Enough First Aid To Save A Child's Life

Four out of five parents don't know enough first aid to save a child's life, according to a frightening new report.

Figures from St. John Ambulance revealed that 140,000 people die each year when they could have been saved with first aid.

The charity said less than 18 per cent have no basic knowledge of first aid – and 81 per cent wouldn't know how to help if their child stopped breathing or fell and hit their head.

A third said their only course of action would be to plead for help from passers-by.

Last night, St John Ambulance - Britain's leading first aid charity - launched a major new advertising campaign to encourage parents to learn the skills that would help them save lives.

If you were watching ITV1's Downton Abbey last night, you might have seen the hard-hitting and shocking advert Helpless during the break.

The ad follows the journey of a man who is diagnosed with cancer, undergoes treatment, and survives only to die as a result of choking at a family BBQ because no one knows the basic first aid that could have saved his life.

St John Ambulance Chief Executive Sue Killen said: "In situations where first aid could help save someone's life people don't have to feel helpless, because learning life saving skills is so simple.

"It is especially important for parents to be equipped and that's why it's concerning that four out of five wouldn't know what to do in situations where first aid could help save their child's life.

"Our message to parents is that first aid is straight forward and they can start by downloading our free first aid app and equipping themselves to be the difference between a life lost and a life saved."

To get a free guide to saving lives visit

You can text HELP to 80039 to download the free first aid app or get a free pocket-sized guide featuring first aid skills that can help in five common life-threatening situations. These are choking, heart attack, severe bleeding, an unconscious person who is breathing and one who is not breathing.

You can see the advert below: