“BECAUSE PEOPLE, THAT’LL CAUSE A DOUBLE FATALITY” shouted the trainer, thumping his fist down on the table for dramatic effect. A few people wiped tears from the corners of their eyes. A few sat with mouths wide open, aghast. Some gave each other sideways glances, thinking “is he for real?”.
Yep, it’s a Baby and Toddler First Aid Course.
Some months ago we, a group of new Mums, hired a first aid trainer to come to a classroom and teach us some very important skills. How to recognise deadly things, how to give CPR to a teensy tiny person, how not to run a first aid course.
This chap was very experienced, of that there’s no doubt. But with a delivery style straight out of a TV comedy, it was hard to take him seriously. Think David Brent meets Vinnie Jones meets Dr Christian. Our babies were only a few months old, we were still holding mirrors above their mouths at night and inspecting every little cry or squeak for sinister repercussions.
He taught us how to perform CPR on a baby, with the use of a scary doll. He briefly talked us through adult CPR too, which he had had to perform 26 times in his lifetime, not always successfully. I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell was going on in his life that he’d had to resuscitate 26 people. Was his chat THAT boring? Was he slipping them something in their drinks and then resuscitating them for the glory? Either way, your odds as a mate of his weren’t great. Best avoided, really.
He had a way of asking questions, putting you on the spot. If you didn’t answer in time, he’d glare at you smugly and then abruptly yell “TOO LATE. FATALITY”. He was training us in first aid via the medium of sheer bloody panic. As I wiped tears away and set about resuscitating my doll, I tried to focus, aware that one day I might need to know this for real.
By the time I arrived home, having hugged my dear little child close, I had to have a stiff drink (medicinal purposes).
But for all his flaws and the fact that I am sure he needed medical attention of his very own, he did say one thing that remained in my mind. ”When a child is ill, you’ll know they’re ill”. Instinct goes a long way in understanding your child, what’s normal and what isn’t.
So, last night when undressing my 22-month-old for her bath, I spotted a rash. A very big one, covering her whole back and chest. I tried to take myself back to that classroom, sitting in front of that
nutter man. I knew what to do, I got my glass, I pressed it on her skin. I looked at her mood, her demeanour. I didn’t suspect something serious like meningitis. So that meant it was chicken pox. The flipping pox, just 5 days before Christmas, that’ll ruin the pictures if she looks like a Christmas pudding! Happy that her mood and appetite were normal for her, I put her to bed. Yes, I did poke my head in to check that she was breathing (with his voice echoing “DOUBLE FATALITY” as I tripped over her rocking horse and stubbed my toe. As you know, toe-stubbing can be life-threatening, just like stapling yourself or standing barefoot on a Lego brick). She was fine.
I consulted our good friend who, apart from being very laid back, is also a proper actually qualified real-life Doctor. He also suggested, via photo sent to his iPhone, Chicken Pox and advised seeing our GP. But he didn’t panic either, so I was reassured. Having him as a friend is like being friends with a flight stewardess. If they start looking worried, then you know the plane’s going down.
Our GP surgery was running on skeleton staff (no pun intended) as the dreaded winter lurgy had wiped out most of the doctors. I saw the names of the two on duty and crossed my fingers. 50/50 chance….one of them is fab, young, sympathetic while one of them is a dinosaur and once accused me of being *ahem* VAIN because I wanted a suspicious looking mole removed from my Celtic fair complexion. I wait. My daughter’s name is called. Dammit, it’s Doctor Fossil. I trot in, bracing myself for being told I’m an idiot and wasting the world’s time. He was lovely. He confirmed a case of Roseola Infantum. I forgave him for calling me vain (I didn’t really, he’s still a total dingbat).
Anyway, to get to the point, it was a virus with a mild fever and rash. Nothing to concern myself with. But as I looked back over my decisions in that preceding 24 hours, I realised that actually, despite scaring the living bejesus out of me, that first aid course was such a great investment.
Babies and toddlers DO get ill very quickly and can’t really communicate what’s up. So, my question to you is…..have you done a first aid course? Do you know what to look for when doing the Glass Test? Do you know how to do baby CPR? Worth thinking about?
Just look out for wayward rocking horses when checking your child’s breath. For toe-stubbing has no known cure.