Lifesaving skills every parent should learn

25 February 2019

Royal Life Saving Society WA is encouraging all West Australian parents and carers with young children to learn vital first aid and CPR skills, to ensure they are adequately prepared to respond should their child drown or stop breathing. Statistics show that over the past ten years, in 80% of drowning cases involving children aged 0-14, it was a direct family member who discovered the drowning victim and attempted resuscitation.

Research shows that without CPR brain damage sets in within 3 minutes of a person’s heart stopping, and there is virtually no chance of survival if action is not taken within 10-11 minutes.

Royal Life Saving WA Senior Manager Health Promotion and Research, Lauren Nimmo, says it’s vital that more Western Australians are trained in this lifesaving skill. “Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under the age of five in Australia. We know that in most cases it is a mother, father, older sibling or grandparent who is most likely to be the first responder to a child drowning, so it’s crucial that everyone who cares for children learns how to perform CPR so that they can respond quickly in an emergency situation – it only takes a few hours to learn CPR, which is a small investment that could potentially save your child’s life.”

In July 2011 Nikki Griffiths’ newborn son Tom stopped breathing – as his face turned blue Nikki quickly realized she had to respond to save his life. “Luckily, I had attended a first aid course just before Tom was born, so I knew what I needed to do. I placed him on the floor and listened to his chest. He wasn’t breathing, so I told my friend to call an ambulance and started giving him compressions. After three rounds of CPR, I could see the colour return to his face and Tom was breathing - it was irregular, and he stopped breathing a couple more times before the paramedics arrived - but I was able to get him to breathe again.”

Tom is now an active seven-year-old boy who loves swimming and reading, but Nikki realizes life could have been very different. “I feel so lucky that we have such a special little man who I gave life to twice. The First Aid course I attended before he was born allowed me to remain calm and perform the necessary steps to keep him alive until help came. I believe that a basic first aid course is the most important gift you can give new parents.”

Senator Louise Pratt is a Royal Life Saving Drowning Prevention Ambassador who has a small child of her own. “As a mum I know how important this is. I learned CPR along with other family members just after my son was born. It has given us a great sense of reassurance that we would know what to do if the unthinkable happened. It was a couple of hours well spent and I would really encourage all parents to do the same.”

“We all need to be part of the solution to keep our children safe around water. This is a fantastic campaign being run by the Royal Life Saving Society and I encourage all parents and carers to enrol in a CPR course.”

A quick CPR response when a person drowns or stops breathing can make a world of difference to the victim’s immediate survival and long-term health outcomes. Enrol in a first or CPR course to learn these lifesaving skills:

Explore more button