Mini First Aid: a review

With Peyton being nine-months-old, I did feel like I was ever so slightly late to the 'First Aid party' when I was invited to try out Mini First Aid: Hull and East Riding.

I had heard of Mini First Aid before. They're a national company with franchises all around the country. Prior to starting baby-led weaning I looked into doing a course with them but couldn't find any that were all that local to me. There were some the other side of York, but as keen as I was to learn First Aid I didn't want to have to travel up to an hour to get to one.

I decided to just watching YouTube videos on what to do when a baby was choking, and clue myself up on the difference between choking and gagging.

But when Jodie, from Mini First Aid: Hull and East Riding, got in touch with me to invite me to one of her classes, I decided it would definitely be worthwhile doing.

The class took place in Brough, although there are also classes in Hull, which was just over half an hour away from where I live.

It was two hours long and was super, super relaxed. I was a bit apprehensive going on my own (I left Peyton with my mum and dad because she'd have been a bloody nightmare, and I'd have learnt nothing!) but I needn't have been.

Peyton was quite happy snoozing at my parent's house while I was gone!

Jodie has just had her second little baby so is currently enjoying the little baby love bubble at home, and a lady called Nicky was running the class instead.

Nicky has loads of First Aid experience, being a first aider at work, managing a children's centre and previously working as a Community First Responder. It was her experience in the latter role that gave us all some top tips on what to do if you do need to call for an ambulance. I'll come back to this later.

The class was a good size. There were three expectant couples - all due within the next month or two - a mum with a four-month-old little boy and her mum, and a mum to a four-year-old.

When I saw the three pregnant ladies I did feel ever so slightly bad, as First Aid is never something I thought of doing when pregnant. We did the hypnobirthing and prepared for birth itself, but nothing really for when she was here.

The girl with the four-month-old was there with her mum, she said as a grandma she panicked more when looking after her grandson than she did when she looked after her own kids so wanted to be clued up.

That's the good thing about the courses, they're for anyone! Mums, dads, siblings, aunties, uncles, grandparents...

The two-hour class covers everything from choking to CPR, bleeding to bumps, breaks and burns, and convulsions to Meningitis awareness.

Before I went, I thought the choking was the main thing I wanted to get out of the class. Now that Peyton has a few more teeth she takes big bites out of her food and, sometimes, I find she gags way more than she did when we first started.

However, after the class, I found choking to be one of the less important things that I took out of the class.

I had no idea how little I actually knew to do.

I had no clue how to do CPR on a baby, or how to check if she was breathing (aside from putting my finger under her nose or feeling her chest). I didn't know what to do if she burnt herself or how to treat her if she goes into shock.

I'm an emergency first aider at work (I'm going on my refresher course this week, actually) so I know the basics of CPR on an adult and how to help an adult who is choking, but it is totally different on a baby/child.

The thing we covered in the most detail was how to check if your baby/child is breathing and how to do CPR on them. There were baby and child sized 'dolls' to practice CPR on, which was really helpful. When you do the chest compressions it's so much harder than you would ever imagine, so it was good to practice that to realise.

Nicky also gave some top tips for if you need to call an ambulance. As a community first responder, she explained how hard it can be to find people's homes; particularly at night. She said to open all your curtains, turn all the lights on at the front of your house and, if you have a car parked outside, put its hazard lights on. That way, when the ambulance turns into your dark street, it can spot your house straight away. I would have never thought of anything like that.

Treating burns is something that had never even crossed my mind; but it's something I am most definitely going to have to do; whether it's a minor burn or more major.

I'll admit, some points of the course absolutely terrified me. I think I was more frightened than I would have been had I been pregnant and doing the course. Mainly because I know how adventurous/daring she can be, so was imagining all the First Aid I'm going to have to administer.

Needless to say, I bought the First Aid kit they were selling at the end of the class!!

Part of that, which is what really sold it to me, was the scissors in there. The scissors are able to cut through material - even denim - so are ideal for burns (although if the clothing isn't removed immediately you just have to cut around the clothing that's stuck to the skin. If you try remove clothing too late it can take the skin off too, which you obviously want to avoid.) They can also cut through the seatbelt strap of the car seat so I will definitely be buying another set to keep in the car. Nicky said they are good to have in the car incase you are in an accident and need to get baby out of the seat quickly. Although, I suppose, if you have concerns about baby maybe being affected by the crash you are best waiting for the paramedics to arrive. Anyway, that aside, I will be buying a pair for the car just incase!

The choking section was really, really handy. It reinforced what I had watched on YouTube but also allowed me to practice my back slaps, chest thrusts/abdominal thrusts on the dolls there. Again, like with CPR, it's amazing how hard you have to be. It definitely helped me to feel more confident, particularly at meal times. I'll still be on edge, watching her carefully, but I feel much more at ease now I have practiced what to do.

I also bought a handy magnet for the fridge which tells you what to do in the event of a choking baby/child.

There were other bits for sale, and I bought it all. I got the paediatric first aid book, which covers in detail everything we learned in the class (I thought this would be good for Tom/my parents to have a look at) and a hot and cold gel pack which can be used, as you've maybe guessed, as a heat source or an ice pack.

I figured if I didn't buy it there and then I would've forgotten when I got home, or wouldn't have got the same things as we'd seen in the class.

All in all, I would most definitely recommend a Mini First Aid class to and parents/carers. For £20 per person it is definitely money well spent, particularly if it teaches you something that helps you to save your, or someone else's, baby's life.

Before yesterday we had nothing like a First Aid kit at home, I'd have been so unprepared had anything happened. Other than Calpol and teething granules we had nothing! Now, however, we've got the contents of the Mini First Aid kit, which includes: two non-adherent wound pads, two conforming bandages, one pair of tough-cut scissors, two adhesive tape (hypoallergenic), two burn gel sachets, 10 uncoloured plasters, two elbow/knee plasters, 20 printed hypoallergenic plasters, two non-alcohol wipes, one pair of metal tweezers (because the ones I use to do my brows would not be all that practical!), six rust-resistant safety pins, and one information leaflet.

And it's all in a pretty green bag. Winning.

If  anyone is interested in booking onto the course, there are dozens all over the country. Just visit the Mini First Aid website and you can search for your local class. You can also arrange private classes in your own home.

It was definitely worth doing and definitely something I wish I had arranged to do before. However, with Peyton becoming more mobile and more of a daredevil with every passing day, I am so glad I did it when I did. Thankfully we've not yet had an experience where we have needed First Aid, but I'm so glad I now know what to do going forward; just incase.

Disclaimer: I was invited to take part in the class free of charge. However, the views and opinions expressed above are entirely my own and are not in any way influenced by anyone affiliated with Mini First Aid.

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