Parents lack basic first aid, Royal Children’s Hospital health poll reveals

PARENTS lack basic first aid knowledge that can reduce the severity of their child’s injury or even save their life, a Royal Children’s Hospital study has found.

Disregarding safety advice and failing to supervise children were concerning trends uncovered by the poll of 2000 parents.

“Unintentional injuries are the biggest cause of death in Australian children under 15 years of age,” Australian Child Health Poll director Dr Anthea Rhodes said.

“While it is not possible or realistic to prevent all childhood injuries, safe supervision of play and attending to injuries if they do occur, is a common and important part of parenthood.”


Dr Rhodes said the lack of supervision and non-compliance identified was concerning, particularly with children under two, because at that age their parents were solely responsible for children’s safety behaviours.

The poll reveals that while many parents know how to treat a wound, many feel ill-equipped to tackle other common injuries.

Half of parents do not know what to do if their child breaks or dislodges a tooth and how to care for them if they are unconscious.

When it came to swimming, almost half of Australian parents did not know the specific first aid required for drowning and fewer than a third were confident in their ability to perform CPR on a child.

It also found that while 80 per cent of children use a trampoline, but only a third have an adult supervising.

One in six children have broken or fractured a bone, or suffered cuts, bruises of concussion using a trampoline.

Orla Morrison-Brown suffered a compound fracture when she fell off her family’s trampoline in January this year.

“I was inside when it happened, I broke all the rules,” her mother Rachael Brown said.

Rachael Brown’s daughter Orla broke her arm in two places after she fell off the trampoline while trying to get off it. Picture: Alex Coppel

Fortunately her nursing training meant she knew exactly what to do while they waited for an ambulance.

“I did faint when the ambulance arrived, but I’m just so glad that I knew first aid.”

The poll also found that while most parents made their children wear a helmet while riding a bike, only half of those who rode scooters or skateboards wore one.

And despite helmets being mandatory in Australia for bike riding, one in six children do not always have their head protected.

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