Warning to parents on ‘first aid ignorance’

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NEW research has revealed that children in Yorkshire could be at risk because more than half of parents lack the first aid skills needed to save their life in an emergency.

A study from first aid charity St John Ambulance found that despite seven out of 10 parents claiming to know basic first aid, 54 per cent said they would wait for an ambulance faced with a typical emergency.

The charity is launching a new TV advert today to encourage people to learn first aid skills. It shows a father unsure what to do when his young son falls from a tree.

Up to 140,000 people die in England and Wales each year in situations where first aid could have given them a chance to survive.

Simon Dunn, regional director with St John Ambulance, said: “It’s devastating to find that approaching half of parents wouldn’t have the first aid confidence to save their own child’s life.

“And it’s not just parents. Nationally over two-fifths of people admit that it would take something as severe as the death of a loved one to make them learn first aid.”

The charity is urging people to visit www.sja.org.uk/savetheboy to learn the basic steps required in any first aid emergency.

It campaign has been backed by Claire Gascoyne, a mother from Coal Aston, near Sheffield, who saved her son Thomas, three, from choking on a crisp.

She placed Thomas over her knee and delivered two blows to his back, dislodging the crisp on the second blow. It happened the day after she attended a St John Ambulance course.

Mrs Gascoyne said: “My husband had panicked and wanted to give him a glass of water but I knew that I needed to act quickly to clear the obstruction.

“I am so glad that I had done the first aid course and that I knew what to do – without it the situation could have ended very differently.”

The campaign was developed after St John Ambulance revealed 63 per cent of parents said knowing first aid would make them feel more prepared for parenthood.