By Andy Tagg, Medical Director at Real Response

Being a parent is one of the most stressful jobs there is. Not only are you caring for one (or even multiple) little humans, but you’re responsible for protecting them against all harm and keeping them happy, healthy and safe.

As a parent myself I know how even with the utmost care and attention, accidents can happen – whether it is a child choking on some grapes during their afternoon snack, accidentally burning themselves after getting too close to a hot stove or having their fingers jammed in the car door as you’re leaving for school drop off. And as a Paediatric Emergency Medicine Consultant I see these things happen every day.

Here are my top tips for parents when it comes to protecting their children in the case of accidents or emergencies.

Keep your child calm.

Calmness is contagious, but unfortunately so is stress. A child in an emergency situation will feed off the emotions of their parent/s, which is why it is key to remain cool, calm and collected. Doing so will help to ensure your child is manageable during an emergency and will make treatment easier and more efficient.

As Andy explains, even with the utmost care and attention, accidents can happen.

If your child is choking, don’t be afraid to use force.

It’s natural to be concerned that you may hurt your child, however in the case of choking you can’t afford to be gentle. Choking needs to be managed quickly with firm, hard blows to your child’s back to dislodge the object.

Remain at arms reach when your child is near the water.

Sadly, accidental drowning is one of the leading causes of injury deaths for children, with swimming pools being the leading location for children aged 0-4 (54%). With the majority of these drownings being in residential pools (87%), it’s worth reiterating what every parent already knows – the best thing you can do is avoid distractions, keep your child close to you when they’re near the water, and in case of an accident, call Triple 0 immediately and begin CPR.

Swimming pools are the leading location for accidental drowning for children aged 0 to 4.

Treat a burn immediately with cool, running water.

Unfortunately, there are many common misconceptions when it comes to treating a burn or scald. First of all, it’s important to use cool running water, never ice or ice water. Secondly, many people believe only a few minutes will do the trick, which is not the case! Be sure to keep the burn under there for at least 20 mins.

Get your first aid and CPR certification.

The most important tip is to always be prepared for any accident or emergency situation, and the best way to do this is to find a nationally accredited Parenting First Aid course, like this one from Real Response. Not only will this enable you to remain calm while dealing with a challenging accident, but for more high stake emergencies, including burns, choking, anaphylaxis and respiratory arrests, early first aid can be life-saving.

The Australian Resuscitation Council recommends you refresh your CPR skills every year, and first aid knowledge every three years.

To book a nationally recognised first aid training course, visit Real Response.