At Outdoor School Singapore, we’ve had the privilege of witnessing several occasions where our young explorers have showcased much growth in both skills and character from learning First Aid at such a young age. In this article, let us share with you several of these stories of our young explorers!
The Confident First Aider
In the face of a medical emergency, such as when a casualty is bleeding or howling in pain from a fracture, many of us may mentally “shut down” and start to panic. If adults are prone to panic, whatmore a child! However, exposure to First Aid empowers an individual with a set of skills and knowledge which translates into a confident disposition that allows them to lessen pain and even save the life of another. Even young children can be empowered to be that calm and level-headed child who will spring into action in the face of medical emergencies!
Take a look at our explorers who had spent the previous two sessions with us learning about lacerations, fractures and its treatments. As part of a grand mission in the final session of our Survival Series programme, the children had to save a casualty. One of our instructors, who was playing the casualty, was tasked to cry in pain and act agitated. Upon meeting the casualty, our young explorer calmly introduced himself, was able to analyse the situation without getting flustered and then subsequently performed the necessary treatment with ease. All the while, he was calmly speaking to our distressed casualty, who was much older than him, and trying to calm her down, “Don’t worry ma’am, I’m here to help you. It’s all going to be okay. I’m going to bandage your arm now!”
Sure it was a mock emergency, but this confident explorer was drastically different from when we first started learning First Aid. During the first session, he was all flustered and rushed through any of the treatments that he learnt. As a result, he couldn’t carry out the treatments properly. In one scenario, he almost gave up trying to bandage because his emotions got the better of him and he was clumsily trying to manage the crepe bandage. Compare this to the last session where he was much more confident and was able to perform the First Aid with ease. We believe in his capabilities and that he’ll be able to handle medical emergencies, should they arrive, calmly and confidently.
The Innovative First Aider
When we teach children First Aid, we are also teaching them how to problem-solve. What happens if you cut yourself during a hike but did not bring any First Aid supplies? What do you do then? What can you use around you to treat the injury? This was exactly the scenario that we posed to the children during one of our Survival Series missions.
We had intentionally given limited crepe bandage and gauze. Our young explorers soon realised that they had more injuries on the casualty than resources to treat it with! So how now? Our young explorers knew that in order to stop a bleeding, they needed to apply pressure. They then brainstormed together what other materials that they could use to create a compression over the injury using whatever resources that they had on them. Some of our explorers suggested using their spare pants and small towel as a substitute for the gauze and bandage!
Together as a team, they then began to work on bandaging the injuries. At first, it was tricky as the material of the towel and pants lacked the elasticity of the crepe bandage. After a few rounds of trying out different ways of wrapping the new “bandage”, our young explorer managed to get just the right amount of pressure around the injured limb. But then came another problem - how to secure the towel? With a regular crepe bandage, it can easily be tucked in but with the towel, the material was too slippery. That’s when another young explorer saved the day. He was truly observant and noticed that the casualty had a rubber band around her wrist. After asking for permission, he managed to solve the issue by using the rubber band to tie the towel down in place.
This example of improvisation and innovative quick-thinking demonstrates how even young children, when taught the basic principles of treating injuries, can problem-solve! It was heartening and impressive to see the various moments of brillant problem-solving at work!