1 in 3 New or Expectant Parents Unsure What To Do In Medical Emergency

Bonnie Evie Gifford
By Bonnie Evie Gifford,
updated on Nov 16, 2018

1 in 3 New or Expectant Parents Unsure What To Do In Medical Emergency

New figures reveal that despite 76% of parents fearing their child is at risk of an accident, few know what to do

According to the latest figures released by Baby to Toddler, fear and a lack of first aid understanding is rife amongst UK parents. With a third of new and expectant parents admitting they wouldn’t know how to react if their child experienced a medical emergency, a further one in 10 had said they live in constant fear that their child will seriously hurt themselves.

Four in five (83%) parents admitted they wouldn’t know what to do if their child ate or drank something dangerous, despite three in four (76%) expressing their fear that their child was at risk of accidents.

While accidents may still happen, arming parents with knowledge, first aid skills, and the confidence to use them can be crucial. One in three (31%) new parents reported their child had experienced a medical emergency during the first four years of their lives, clearly demonstrating the frequency in which first aid skills can be needed.

Parents expressed the most uncertainty around what to do if their child ate or drank something toxic (82%), with a further 60% uncertain how to proceed if they found their child unresponsive, and 59% unsure how to respond if their baby had a fit. Out of those who claimed to have a vague understanding of how to react in an emergency, only half (53%) could identify the correct measures to take.

Jenni Dunman is CEO at Daisy First Aid, a company offering short, fun, fear-free first aid courses designed specifically for parents, schools and care providers, who specialises in paediatric first aid shared her thoughts:

“It's amazing how many new parents in our classes are unaware of febrile seizures, yet, according to the NHS, one in 20 children between the ages of one and four will suffer from one.

“The key point to remember with febrile seizures is that whilst they can be terrifying to witness, they are relatively common. They are caused by a spike in temperature and children can recover very quickly with no long-term side effects. If parents are prepared with this knowledge, then it’s not quite as scary and it’s much more likely that the parent will remain calmer and treat the seizures correctly.

“Choking is also one of the biggest worries for parents, particularly when weaning or when babies start putting everything in their mouth. There are really important techniques that we highly recommend all parents learn and practise (on mannequins, not real babies).

“Learning these very simple steps could be lifesaving. It takes on average eight minutes for an ambulance to arrive in London but a child could die from choking in as little as four minutes so I can’t stress how important it is to learn and practise back blows, baby chest thrusts and child abdominal thrusts.”

Parents whose children had experienced a medical emergency reported the most common experiencing being with breathing difficulties (30%), choking (18%), falling (17%), or having an allergic reaction (17%).

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