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As a parent, I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I hate the sight of blood. I’m thankful that I’m not as nervous about the other bodily fluids—of which there are many—that accompany this job. I didn’t think it was possible, but it appears that I’ve passed on my genetic weakness to at least two of my three children.

Recently, while on vacation and at a local park, my daughter skinned her knee. The injury left my daughter’s skin scraped off, her knee dirty and bleeding and me doing my level best to keep her calm while her younger sister was clearly squeamish in reaction to it all.  

Thankfully, my husband and I usually carry a basic first aid kit. Because we were on vacation, he had his larger kit on hand, which was readily available. While I had already sat my daughter on a park bench with her leg elevated, he opened the bag and enlisted the help of her six-year-old younger sister who has often told us boldly: “don’t talk about blood or I will die.”Photo: www.lek.si

While a skinned knee clearly isn’t a life threatening injury, I recognized that my girls were still pretty freaked out. What if they were ever to sustain a more serious injury? Would they be able to handle it? I know that ambulance personnel often carry stuffed animals to help keep children calm in the wake of an accident. But what could I do for my children to help make them a little braver in such situations?

Amazingly enough, after I had cleaned my daughter’s knee, my husband was able to walk our younger daughter through applying gentle pressure and wrapping her sister’s wound.

Will this experience miraculously remove any fear should something similar happen to either of them in the future? Likely not, but it’s a good place to start according to Michelle Kreger, a Chester County resident and EMT.

“By teaching children what to do in an emergency when they are young, they are less likely to panic or be afraid if something happens to them because they are aware of what rescuers are doing,” she says.

Kreger, whose husband is Medic 93-Brandywine Hospital professional Scott Kreger, says children should be taught some basics first, specifically to call 911 for help, when necessary, and know their address and be able to describe their surroundings.

We sometimes see news stories with children who’ve saved others by administering life-saving techniques, and this is when it becomes apparent that children can be valuable first responders. Kreger says that children can start to learn some simple steps as soon as they’re old enough to understand that someone needs help.

“Even if they just know where the first aid kit is kept or how to access it is a good start,” she says.

Some other first-aid measures, such as the Heimlich Maneuver, which is used to help choking victims and CPR, can also be taught to young children. However, says Kreger, those younger than 12 may not be strong enough to do the CPR chest compressions effectively.

As parents, it’s our job to first teach children to:

1.) Keep calm in any situation.

2.) Know when to dial “911” and know information such as home address and phone number.

3.) Administer basic first aid, such as applying pressure to a wound, securing a bandage, elevating a sprain or making a simple sling.

4.) Not turn their back on helping others

These skills will undoubtedly help children gain compassion for others while also empowering them with a crucial life skill.

I also am an ASHI certified instructor for First Aid and CPR.


Julia Sherwin is a freelance writer and mother of three who lives in Chester County. She is a former college journalism instructor who enjoys running, biking, swimming, traveling and cooking.

Email her at jsherwin73@gmail.com  and followe her on Twitter @JuliaSherwinPoPYou can also follow her other parenting articles at juliasherwin.wordpress.com.

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Photo: www.lek.si