Over half of parents in the East Midlands lack the skills to save their child in the event of a life-threatening accident, St John Ambulance leaders in Northampton have warned.
The specific number, 58 per cent, highlights the East Midlands as one of the worst regions in the country for lack of first aid knowledge and compares with a national figure of 55 per cent, and 43 per cent for the North East.
To raise awareness and encourage more people to learn basic first aid skills, St John Ambulance has launched a powerful TV advert, from the award-winning director behind the John Lewis commercials, which will air tonight during ITV’s Doc Martin.
And Northamptonshire St John Ambulance first aider who saved the life of her friend’s daughter is backing the campaign for more people to learn life saving skills.
Heather Crane, now aged 65, from Corby, was at her friend’s house for a social evening and they had all been eating and drinking and having a good evening when suddenly their friend’s daughter Emma – who was about 11 months old at the time – started choking.
Heather immediately picked Emma up and started giving back blows to try to remove the obstruction. After four slaps Emma, now 19, started to cry and Heather knew she was going to be okay.
She said: “It was a scary time for everyone but I was so pleased that I had the skills to be able to help. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to help someone you are close to.
“First aid is such an important skill for everyone to have – I would recommend everyone to gain first aid skills.’
The campaign was developed after research from St John Ambulance showed that in the East Midlands:
• More than one in five parents do not view knowing first aid as being important
• 64% of parents say knowing first aid skills would make them feel more prepared for parenthood
• 63% of parents say the thought of their child needing immediate first aid intervention makes them feel worried
• Around a third of parents said their child has had an accident that has needed immediate first aid intervention while they were on holiday – more than half of those parents did not have the skills to help their child
Chris Thornton, regional director for St John Ambulance in the East Midlands, said: “It’s devastating to find that over half of parents in the East Midlands wouldn’t have the first aid confidence to save their own child’s life. And it’s not just parents. Around 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.
“Unfortunately, our volunteers can’t be everywhere so we’ve developed an online experience to help more people be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.
“We don’t want anyone to be helpless in a first aid situation especially when learning life saving skills is so simple.”
St John Ambulance is also currently running its annual Save a Life September campaign for the third year, as part of a drive to raise awareness of the importance of first aid.
To find out more about events in your area, visit www.sja.org.uk/sals or call 08700 10 49 50.