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The majlis: First-aid lessons can save children's lives

In an emergency situation, the first few minutes are crucial in saving a child’s life. In those few moments, when for example you’re driving the child to the hospital, you could do something yourself to help save their life.

If a nanny is looking after a child and realises that the child is choking, she might take a minute to make a phone call to the child’s mother, then another to call to an ambulance, or perhaps another to get to a car or a taxi.

I don’t think most parents or nannies are equipped with the skills they need to deal with emergency situations. Many nannies in the UAE are more like babysitters, but that doesn’t mean that they’re certified to handle emergency situations.

That’s why I decided to organise a paediatric first-aid course through my initiative, The Mama Bear Club, in Abu ­Dhabi. The idea came about when I saw a few videos on social media about how to save your child in a choking situation.

It struck me that although it’s easy to watch the manoeuvres in a video, to do them in real life is a different story. During the four-hour paediatric first-aid course, there’s theoretical and practical training, and mannequins are available for people to practise on.

I have noticed that there are more and more first-aid courses being taught in the UAE, especially at child-focused centres and playhouses, which means people are starting to realise the importance of learning first aid. Most of these courses focus on CPR, whereas a full first-aid course, like we are organising, ­covers situations such as drowning, seizures, eye or head injuries, fractures, poisoning, choking, insect bites, electric shock, burns, CPR and more.

Let’s assume that you’re a working mum who isn’t with the child when an emergency happens. That’s why the course is offered to fathers and nannies, not just mothers. It will also be offered in a variety of languages, including English, Arabic and Tagalog.

Thankfully, I have not yet had to face any life-threatening situations with my own 3-year-old daughter. There was a small incident in which she had an insect bite, but it wasn’t severe. You can imagine, when you see a lump on your child’s skin, you immediately panic. Even getting the right ointment for an insect bite can be tricky – how do you know which one to choose? And what are the emergency numbers? Do parents and nannies know? Are they written down somewhere in the house where they can be easily read?

As I learn first-aid skills, I also want to be able to pass them on to other parents. Once I have been certified, I can teach the basic techniques to my friends and family who also have children. It’s about spreading knowledge and raising awareness for other families.

I’m sure that a paediatric first-aid course will give parents the peace of mind to know that in the event of an emergency situation in the future, they would be equipped with the right skills to deal with it.

* As told to Jessica Hill

Hamda Al Hadrami is the founder of The Mama Bear Club, a community initiative to connect and build a network of mothers in Abu Dhabi. The paediatric first-aid course, from Health and Safety Solutions, and a healthy cooking session by Mama Lu Kitchen will be held on Saturday, April 8, at Rosewood Abu Dhabi hotel from 11am to 3pm. Guests can register for either of the sessions on the day or via www.eventbrite.com

If you have a good story to tell or an interesting issue to debate, contact Amanda Tomlinson on [email protected].

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