Good news for schools!
New regulations have just been issued regarding the use of reliever asthma inhalers in schools.
From 1st October 2014 the Human Medicines (Amendment) (No2) Regulations 2014 will allow schools to hold a spare emergency asthma inhaler for use in emergencies.
These inhalers can only be used by children for whom parental consent has already been given to use an emergency inhaler and who normally carry an inhaler to school as they have been diagnosed with asthma or have been prescribed a reliever inhaler.
It can be used if the pupils prescribed inhaler is not available (for example because it is empty or broken).
Head teachers can purchase the salbutamol inhalers for the treatment of acute asthma attacks from pharmaceutical suppliers. Suppliers will need a signed request from the head stating the quantity of inhalers required and for what purpose. They will also need to purchase spare spacer devices to help administer the drug.
For full information see the Government’s Guidance Document on the Use of Emergency Inhalers in Schools
Accidents happen regularly, particularly in homes and schools and usually adults are about to help deal with the situation and take charge.
But what happens if it is the adult who is injured, and children are the only ones around able to respond? Can children effectively assess a situation and deal with it appropriately?
If taught the right skills, could children as young as 4 or 5 help?
There are often reports in the news of toddlers and small children who save their parents lives by calling for emergency service help and who open airways by putting their parent in the recovery position. So should small children be taught very basic first aid skills?
A recent study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine, suggested that children in Norway as young as 4 or 5 have been taught to perform first aid effectively, following training in the “5 finger rule”. Moreover that they can remember these skills up to 2 months later, correctly calling for help and putting a casualty into the recovery position, having managed their airway effectively.
The study taught the children the five finger rule and how to prevent an airway being blocked by vomit by putting the casualty in the recovery position and calling for help. The children were then asked to help someone who had fallen off their bike and was not moving. Using team work the children managed the situation properly. Two months later they could still work out if someone was unconscious or sleeping and whether they were breathing.
The study concluded that small children are able to help in emergency situations and should be taught some very rudimentary skills from an early age, perhaps during preschool and foundation stages of schooling, as they may be the only ones available to help.
From my own perspective as someone who first learnt first aid at a young age, I think teaching children first aid from a young age is invaluable. Many children learn skills very easily and have an innate compassion and desire to help others that should be fostered. Would it be too much trouble to teach a few lessons in first aid? You never know, it might be your life that a child saves.