Abu Dhabi: First aid certification is an international accepted qualification, and training agencies in the UAE are eager to educate those who take care of young children.
A basic first aid course at most training firms lasts from four to six hours and costs between Dh400 and Dh600. It covers skills such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), car safety and other knowledge that can prevent accidents and falls at home. It also teaches attendees how to assess the danger a patient is in, and how to know when to call an ambulance.
Annie Browne, a former emergency room nurse from the United Kingdom who heads up a health and safety training and consultancy firm, Health and Safety Solutions, told Gulf News she has focused much of her efforts this year on training maids and nannies.
“From clinical death when blood circulation and heartbeat stops, it takes just three to five more minutes for brain activity to cease. So, even before emergency response arrives, a caregiver can do much to save a dependant’s life, and this is what we stress,” Browne explained.
“Unfortunately, less than five per cent of the nannies and maids we see know the most basic skills, such as administering CPR when someone stops breathing, or abdominal thrusts to prevent choking. So, since March, we have trained over 700 maids and nannies, and we hope that this will mean that many more lives are now safer,” she added.
Rowena Legaste, sales executive at First Aid.ae, another safety training firm, said the paediatric first aid courses they offer are valid for three years.
“It trains attendees on how to take care of newborn children as well as those who are older, and the course costs Dh450 per attendee. Trainees learn how to deal with minor injuries, what to do when a child is choking or has a strong allergic reaction, and how to report and assess the situation,” she said.
A number of firms that hire out babysitters and nannies in the UAE already factor first aid knowledge into their basic training.
Lily Kandalaft, chief executive officer at Malaak Mama and Baby Care, a nursing and babysitting agency, said their compulsory paediatric course gives child-care professionals the knowledge and confidence to deal with emergencies that might affect the children they are caring for.
“A lot of homes are not equipped with the necessary tools to ensure a children’s safety, such as safety gates around a swimming pool. In addition, accidents do happen as infants and children are still discovering the world around them. This is why paediatric first aid is extremely important, because the first few seconds after an accident or fall can mean the difference between life and death,” she said.