Infant First Aid Training for Parents — [Mr Philip Hollobone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:14 pm on 3rd April 2019.

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Photo of Julie Cooper Julie Cooper Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care) (Community Health) 3:14 pm, 3rd April 2019

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that important intervention. I shall certainly speak with a loud voice about the subject in my constituency, and I encourage all Members to do the same.

The other point made by the hon. Member for Moray was that access is not easy. In preparation for this debate I checked up on access to training courses for my constituents and found that, even though I represent an urban community, it involves a 60-mile drive or a long train journey on a slow, rickety train line. That presents a massive barrier to my constituents accessing such training. I totally take the point that the hon. Gentleman makes, and I agree with him entirely.

The safety of our children is and always should be paramount, and it is therefore important that, in the event of an obvious health emergency, parents have at least a basic knowledge of first aid so that they can take action before professional help arrives—actions that might save the child’s life. The hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth made a strong point about how it is important that parents are trained to recognise the symptoms of what can be serious diseases, such as sepsis and meningitis. It would be useful if parents were equipped to recognise the symptoms before they decide whether to call 999 or take their child to hospital, because knowing how to spot the symptoms really does save lives.

First aid, as the term suggests, is the first medical attention that a person receives after an accident or during a medical emergency. Despite what many people have been led to believe, first aid does not have to be delivered by medical professionals—we have established that. A person’s chances of surviving a medical emergency are increased dramatically if a member of the community can respond with first aid immediately. What happens in the crucial minutes after someone dials 999 or the NHS’s 111 and before professional help arrives can be the difference between life and death. The British Red Cross reported that close to a quarter of infant deaths could have been prevented had there been a qualified first aider on hand, and who better to be trained than the parent?