First Aid


Water Safety for children

Summertime is perfect for spending time at the pool, enjoying a refreshing swim on a hot day at the beach or a paddle in a cool river stream. Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches, rivers, inland water holes in the world and the climate to go with it; however, you may be surprised to know that in Australia the most common cause of drowning is not knowing how to swim. Many adults and children will attempt to get into the water without proper swim training.

Swimming is fun for both children and adults and has so many benefits. Swimming builds muscle, burns calories, teaches us water safety and keeps us cool especially on hot days. When swimming our brains releases chemicals called endorphins that are designed to make us feel happy. We know that children have a natural curiosity and attraction to water, it is fun and has benefits, however, drowning is the third most common cause of death for Australian children aged one to 14.

It is not just pools, beaches and waterways where children can drown, they can also drown very quickly in a small body of water as little as a few centimetres. One and two-year-old near-drownings can have catastrophic consequences and can lead to permanent disabilities, so it is really important for you and your children to be safe around water. Formal water safety and swimming lessons under the supervision of a lifeguard can dramatically decrease the risk of drowning. It is also important to actively supervise your child around water at all times.

But as any parent knows, it’s also important to be aware of water safety hazards and take precautions to keep your children safe. Here are some tips for keeping your little ones safe around water this summer.

  1. Never leave children unsupervised around water, even if they know how to swim.
  2. Stay in constant visual contact, not just glancing towards the water occasionally.
  3. Always stay within arm’s reach of children swimmers when they’re in or around water
  4. Stay close to the water when you’re supervising children who can swim, and being ready to get in if there’s an emergency.
  5. Take children with you if you leave the pool area, even for a moment
  6. Always swim between the red and yellow flags on beaches with lifeguards and surf lifesavers.
  7. Look for the beach signs at the entrance to the beach, they have lots of local information and will explain to you the meaning of the signs placed on the beach.
  8. Empty water from baths, buckets and wading pools immediately after use.
  9. Watch children around fountains, eskies, fishponds and pet bowls. If you can’t empty the water, cover it with suitable material or put items away out of reach.
  10. Check your home regularly for water hazards that may need repairs, such as broken pipes or open drains.
  11. Avoid drugs and alcohol around water.
  12. Be aware of medical conditions and their impact around water.
  13. Check conditions and depth of the water never dive into unknown waterways and remember that conditions can change from day to day, hour to hour, even in water you think you know well.
  14. Don’t take risks around water.
  15. Wear a life jacket when boating, including children.
  16. Teaching children to feel comfortable in the water and how to swim at an early age is extremely important, educate them early about water safety. In saying this know your limits as an adult/parent.
  17. Parents/guardians should do a First Aid Course so they can respond in an emergency. Cire Training offers First Aid Training, click here to learn more.

The Royal Children’s Hospital has put together a fact sheet about water safety for your children. You can download it here, and keep it in an easy-to-access place so you have it when you need it. Remember to never leave your child unattended near water, even if they are wearing a lifejacket – accidents can happen quickly. And finally, always swim with a buddy. Swimming is great exercise and fun for the whole family, but please make sure everyone stays safe while enjoying the pool or beach this summer.

Image by The Royal Children’s Hospital.

First Aid skills critical for all ages

First Aid saves lives, making it an essential skill set for people of all ages, as you never know when you may it may be needed.

To extend the safety nets within our communities and to put into action 2021 World First Aid Day’s theme of “First Aid in Schools”, Naomi Taylor from Cire Training recently met with Peter Beams, one of our valued trainers, to discuss how children and young people particularly can be equipped with a basic skills ‘toolkit’.

Peter, who has previously shared first aid tips with staff and children at Cire Early Learning centres and local primary schools, emphasised that each child is different, and parents and carers should use messaging that best align with their family’s language.

Some of Peter’s key tips and advice include:

Calling 000: Teaching children how to call for help is a great way of including them in a safety plan.  Basic information like how to utilise the “Emergency Call” option on a locked mobile phone, could save crucial minutes.  Learning your address, or having details somewhere children can see them, will also help in an emergency, but this can be age-appropriate.

Finding someone unconscious: Most people know ‘DRSABCD’, or some variation of it, however Peter reminds us that any action is better than nothing.  If you (or your child) encounter someone who is unresponsive, simply rolling them on to their side, and tilting their head back can be the key to saving their life.  Call 000 as soon as possible. As a refresher, DRSABCD is an acronym for Danger, Response, Send for help, Airway, Breathing, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Defibrillation

Nose bleeds: It is now considered best practice to have the patient bend their head forward slightly (not back, as previously encouraged).  If available, add a cold washer or ice pack to the back of the neck.

Choking: If someone is coughing, they should continue to do so, as this is the body trying to dislodge the blockage.  If the coughing ceases, lean the patient forward and administer back blows in an upward motion to assist them.

Peter’s information prompted Naomi to reflect on her real-life experience with First Aid; “When he was a toddler, my son tried to eat a full apricot and started choking on the pip. Fortunately, I was able to react promptly by laying him over my knee and giving him some back blows to help him cough it out.  I never thought I’d need to use this knowledge, but I am so thankful that I had learnt it.”

As research and knowledge improves, so do the recommendations for various treatments. It is best to refresh First Aid skills every three years and CPR education every 12 months, at least, to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.

Cire offers a range of training options, from our “First Aid Fast” sessions targeting parents and others who care for children. We also have a series of accredited short courses, from the base level, to the additional skills needed for those working in an education or care settings.  Individualised training can also be arranged for groups and businesses.

For more information visit the Cire Training website.

YVCS Students gain skills on mental health

Yarra Valley Community School was successful in obtaining funding via Yarra Ranges Youth Services Resilience funding program. Using this grant we sourced and implemented a training program with all the Yarra Junction campus VCAL students. The training was called teen Mental Health First Aid (teen MHFA) which  was conducted in term 2 this year.

The course consisted of three full sessions of facilitated workshops which gives students the skills they need to recognise and help with mental health problems and the signs to look for in friends, and how to get the help of an adult quickly. Young people often help each other when they are feeling upset or stressed. The course gave attendees the tools needed to seek help and not take on the problems that a friend may be experiencing alone. Similar to the well-known physical First Aid the course covers the basics of mental health disorders which includes; how to recognise symptoms to help and when to call for external supports. At the completion of the three components the students were issued with a certificate which comes with international recognition.

The essence of the course is for the students to familiarise themselves with mental health language, supports and processes for referral within the broader community. The aim was to destigmatise mental health labels and increase the individual student’s mental health literacy.

To celebrate their efforts in undertaking this at times confronting training, the students were treated to a warm homemade lunch each week followed by a game of basketball to unwind at the Yarra Centre in Yarra Junction.

“The students really enjoyed the course and gained skills that will assist them well into their futures which is what our education programs strive to do. Proud to have participated and warmed all those student belly’s”. Kerry Ditcham YVCS Student Wellbeing Officer

Huge warm and wonderful thanks to Denise Warmington for running this brilliant program.

Congratulations to the students who achieved their certificates. 

To find out more about our VCAL program click here or call 03 5967 1776 Yarra Junction and 03 9736 1457 Mt Evelyn.