Parents learn skills to save a life

9 April 2018

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 and instruction on performing child cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

In a recent Royal Life Saving WA 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. Even more alarming is the fact that the same survey found overseas born respondents were twice as likely to have never completed formal CPR training compared to Australian born respondents.

Each year the Keep Watch toddler drowning prevention program provides grants for community organisations working with disadvantaged communities to provide free 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.

Meerilinga Children and Family Centre Cockburn is just one organisation that recently provided a free Heart Beat Club course for their local community. 18 parents participated from a wide variety of backgrounds, including those from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, India, South Africa, Italy and Croatia.

The feedback from these participants was overwhelmingly positive, including:

  • “This is the first First Aid course I have attended so it has given me good basic knowledge.”
  • “It opened my eyes to different situations and how to respond to them.”
  • “This is an excellent course for someone who doesn't know anything about first aid and CPR.”


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.”

The Heart Beat Club grants program is supported by the Department of Health Western Australia, and has seen more than 30 organisations host a free Heart Beat Club in 2017/18, with more than 400 parents and carers taking part. Royal Life Saving WA hopes to see hundreds more people receive this training in the coming 12 months, with an expression of interest form for courses in 2018/19 to be circulated in July.

To make sure your community group receives this form you can sign-up for Keep Watch information at the link below.

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