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Most parents 'lack first aid skills'

WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks
mad little girl with measles

25th February 2013 - Seven out of 10 mums and dads in the UK lack first aid skills that would allow them to help their child in a medical emergency, a poll has found.

The findings underline the gap between parents and professional child carers who need to be equipped with a first aid qualification.

St John Ambulance says the situation is "disturbing".

The survey was carried out by OnePoll for, a website which matches parents with childcare professionals. A thousand parents with at least one child aged 10 or younger were surveyed earlier this month.

First aid basics

The results show that:

  • 72% of parents would not know how to assist an unconscious child, administer CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or deal with burns and scalds
  • 80% of parents with children aged between six and nine say they wouldn't have a clue how to deal with a medical emergency

The vast majority of respondents said they had never been on a first aid course, with only 28% saying they had completed a first aid qualification. "Someone hasn't showed them how to react in an emergency situation, whether that's through a course or someone's actually walked it through with them," says Tom Harrow, who heads

He says the situation is surprising as one survey showed that safety ranks second only to cost among parents asked to rank their childcare concerns.

Find a course online

"They're really easy to find out about," Tom Harrow tells us. "You can go online and find practitioners who do local first aid courses." Also, also offers first aid courses suitable for parents.

First aid qualifications are an essential prerequisite of setting up as a registered child carer or childminder.

Difference between life and death

St John Ambulance offers training to mums and dads - in a course lasting three hours.

Commenting on the survey in an emailed statement, Clive James, training and development manager at St John Ambulance says: "It’s disturbing to hear that almost three-quarters of parents wouldn’t know how to help their child in an emergency situation. The swift application of first aid can be the difference between life and death, so it’s incredibly important for parents to equip themselves with some basic first aid knowledge, so that they can act in an emergency.

"Every parent should know some basic life saving skills, such as how to administer CPR, put an unconscious child in the recovering position, treat choking and stem bleeding, along with some knowledge of how to help with more common injuries such as minor burns and falls."

Reviewed on February 25, 2013

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