Parents learn lifesaving skills

25 November 2017

The Royal Life Saving Society WA is determined to see all West Australians have an opportunity to learn first aid and CPR skills, and our Heart Beat Club program is a step towards seeing this become a reality. The Heart Beat Club is a short three hour training session that covers first aid for common child injuries including burns and scalds, choking and drowning and provides information on how to perform child resuscitation or CPR.

Each year free Heart Beat Clubs are made available through the Keep Watch toddler drowning prevention program. Since 2014, the Keep Watch program has provided grants for community organisations working with disadvantaged communities to provide Heart Beat Club courses. Many groups in the community do not attend first aid training due to factors such as cost, accessibility or language barriers, and the grants aim to increase their access to this lifesaving training.

Drowning is the leading cause of preventable death in children under the age of five in Australia, and CPR performed at the scene is one potential way to protect children in the event of an emergency. In a recent survey, less than one-quarter of parents had completed first aid or CPR training in the past 12 months suggesting that parents may not have the skills to help their child in the event of an emergency.

Rachel Murray, Keep Watch Program Coordinator, says “the single most important drowning prevention strategy is supervision of young children, but unfortunately we know that at times adult supervision lapses, allowing a child to find their way into water. In many cases of child drowning, a parent will be the first person on the scene. In these situations, a parent applying basic CPR skills can genuinely be the difference between life and death. The Heart Beat Club grants are one way we are working to increase the number of people in the community with these lifesaving skills.

20 organisations have hosted a free Heart Beat Club so far in 2016/17, with over 200 parents and carers taking part. There are a small number of grants still available and organisations supporting parents and families are invited to apply.

The Heart Beat Club grants program is supported by the Department of Health WA.

You can find more information and the application form at the link below.

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