You might remember awhile back I wrote a post about the Red Cross App which is a FREE download containing loads of helpful advice, tips and videos on what to do in an emergency. I found out about this thanks to Mumsnet who frankly, are a mine of information on all things parenting. Some serious, some much less so! Brands and charities tell them about what they’ve got going on and they get the information out to the masses via their network of bloggers- good idea hey.
Anywho, at that time what I said was, the app was really useful but that everyone should, if possible, attend an actual real life course. 
On Saturday my friend Lyndsay and I did just that. We headed over to the Red Cross Centre in Liverpool for a full day (9-3) learning the most important life saving skills as well as the more ‘everyday’ stuff such as bumps and bruises, burns etc.
I honestly do not know why these courses are not included as part of the antenatal groups that parents to-be attend. Why aren’t they advertised in the blimmin’ bounty packs that are so keen to tell you about washing powder and first photos?!
Dianne, the course leader was warm, friendly and fun- she had an anecdote for everything so she is either from the unluckiest family on the planet or is simply a great story teller- I suppose with 3 kids and 17 nieces and nephews it could be a bit of both. Although we were discussing some very serious and somber topics she was able to judge the mood and prevent things from becoming depressing- no mean feat! If I am being brutally honest and, you know me, I think that perhaps there should have been slightly less assurance that medical help would arrive very quickly because sometimes that might not be possible so, you need to be prepared to deal with situations on your own.
There was 12 of us on the course; new parents, grandparents, finally getting round to it parents and aunties. There were 4 guys and 6 girls. It was a good number to allow everyone enough time to practice each technique whilst not being so small that you felt self-conscious kneeling on the floor exposing your builders bum to the rest of the group (**point to note- wear a LONG vest**).
Now; I like to think of myself as an averagely intelligent individual. I don’t think I’d totally go to pieces in an emergency but equally, I certainly didn’t know what I should have been doing beyond trying to keep calm, reassure and get help. I am sure I wasn’t the only one to feel sick to my stomach when we were discussing what you should do if you found your child in difficulty or not breathing etc but, fore warned is fore armed as they say and, having those difficult conversations just in case is far better than being too afraid to even think about such things.
The Red Cross are doing all they can to give people simple, easy to remember advice which you can call upon in a crisis. Everything has been significantly simplified since my days as a first aider. There’s no checking for a pulse. The recovery position has been pared down and the focus is on a few key steps rather than a complicated list that you’d soon forget or worry you’d missed something out of.
One of the most reassuring things I heard over the course of the day was;

Doing something is far better than doing nothing. 

Where previously if faced with an unconscious baby or child I would have been hesitant to attempt CPR incase I did too many or too few breaths and compressions I now know that it is 5 breaths to 30 compressions. I also know that if you mis-count and do 4 or 6 to 28 or 32 you won’t be making things worse which was really great to hear.
I liked the way that Dianne, the course leader set up the day. She started with the most serious, most scary situations possible and then worked backwards from there. This meant we had plenty of time to practice, ask questions, process the information and try again at the end of the day. After all- it is finding your child unresponsive that is likely to be the most worrying thing for anyone.
A course costs £45 per person which I think is very reasonable. It certainly makes more sense to spend your money on one of these as opposed to…well, any number of new baby ‘must haves’ that us parents seem to get sucked into. The gift cards would make an unusual and genuinely useful gift for any prospective parents but, if there’s a group of you you can arrange for the trainer to come to you on a convenient date and time- Perfect for getting parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties together before the baby arrives I would say or, double it up with a baby shower afterwards…everything is better with tea and cake isn’t it?! I would also absolutely recommend a proper first aid kit to keep at home. We currently have a half stocked medicine/biscuit/coffee cupboard but I think we definitely need to upgrade.
I know that making things compulsory isn’t always the way to go but, I genuinely think if you have babies or young children or are going to be around them on a regular basis you really need to book yourself on to one of these courses. They will make you feel more confident and, along with the app really could be the difference between life and death.
I have a Red Cross Gift Card to give away and a first aid book and kit. All you need to do is click on my rafflecopter link below and comment on the blog or my Facebook page and you’ll be in with a chance of winning one of those prizes. a Rafflecopter giveaway
So tell me, do you think these courses should be compulsory? Would you know what to do in a crisis?
I feel far more confident now. Thanks Dianne and BRC.
I won the two places on the first aid course in a random draw following on from the first aid app review. I decided that I would review the course in the hope that more people will learn basic life saving skills.
As ever, all opinions are my own.

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