Children do have accidents, whether at home, in the park or in the car. More often than not, a domestic helper is employed having no first aid or medical training. While everyone, in all walks of life, could benefit from the training, it is of vital importance that the domestic helper, who looks after your children for 8 hours a day or more, is properly trained in emergency medical care. Generally, first aid is the initial assistance given to a child while waiting for the professionals to arrive, and is often life saving. Before employing a new helper it would be wise to ask for a first aid certificate or proof of having attended and passed a first aid course.
Assessing the Importance of Medical Training
It is hard to overestimate the importance of first aid training. Among the many major benefits are the following.
First aid ensures that the correct methods of assistance are given. In emergency situations fast thinking and administering the correctly assessed first aid treatment to the child can clearly save a life. The brain can expire after only six minutes of being deprived of oxygen, so it would be disastrous if the incorrect treatment was given.
In the case of the child ingesting a hazardous substance, the well-trained domestic helper would be more than just a bystander, and could administer support to the victim and then to the professional medical responders.
As with new parents, who normally have little or no training as to how a child should be brought up, an untrained helper is the road to disaster. This supremely important job must have full-on training, both certified and documented. Accidental injuries, especially drowning and falling account for a high percentage of child related deaths, and having attended a first aid course would inspire confidence in the nanny in the case of an emergency situation.
CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, could save the infant in a bad case of choking, but could cause damage if performed for the wrong medical reason. A first aid certificate from a reputable training agency is proof to the parents that the child is in the best hands should an accident happen. Signage, with emergency contact numbers, should always be clearly visible.
First Aid Courses for Domestic Helpers
Through studying first aid, a person is prepared to assist others wisely. In case of medical emergency, the first reaction is to immediately call emergency services. During the waiting time, your helper will be able to distinguish between what to do and what not to do and she will able to help someone who is unconscious. The following categories should be covered in depth in the first aid course:
- Drowning or not breathing
- High fever or seizures (fitting)
- Stings and bites
- Fractures or broken bones
- Head and spinal injuries
- Communicable diseases
To add to the list, your domestic helper should also learn about safety, creating a child-proof environment and identifying hazards. Should all this be performed satisfactorily, then the first aid certificate could be awarded.
There are many training agencies offering first aid courses for helpers, all over the world, and finding the right one is the difficult part. Checking the type of training covered thoroughly is important. An agency cannot hand out a first aid certificate randomly, and should be accredited by a reputable body. We have listed some organisations that provide first aid trainings in Hong Kong. The first aid course must be completed to the highest possible standard, and references from the training academy should be obtained by the employer.
Different rules apply in different countries. For example in Great Britain, the law states that a nanny should be in possession of a valid certificate, and goes on to say that this should be renewed on a supplementary first aid course every three years. However, in the Middle East and Asia, there is a dangerous practice of leaving the children alone with an untrained cleaning lady, who doesn’t understand the basics of medical care. Swimming pools are left unguarded, with no fencing or gates in evidence. It’s a miracle that children survive to adulthood.
Looking at it with a clear mind, and the welfare of the infants at heart, it is just common sense that helpers and caregivers be in possession all the medical qualifications possible as laypeople.