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Parents learn first aid skills with remote CPR class

Families can now learn crucial skills from the comfort of their own home. 

Family on the couch looking at a laptop computer
SydneyConnect Image: The Ocepek family

Every day with a newborn baby brings exciting milestones.

But as mum Sara Ocepek knows, each milestone can come with new concerns.

After having a baby boy, Teyan, at RPA in 2021, she started breastfeeding but admits that she was nervous about him choking.

"The first time he coughed, I freaked out a bit," she said.

Though the coughing turned out to be harmless, Sara was determined to learn what to do if her son were ever to choke.

So, she and her partner Zebedee signed up to do a first aid course provided by RPA's Parent Education Unit in partnership with CPR Kids.

Run by paediatric nurses, CPR Kids teaches parents and caregivers the basics of first aid for children up to eight years of age.

Participants learn how to respond calmly and effectively to common emergency situations affecting children such as choking, burns and various injuries, as well as how to recognise when a child is seriously ill.

"Most parents want to know what to do if their child needs help. Not knowing can be scary and you don't have that much time to react so this is a very simple way of learning some basic skills," Bithia O'Brien, a Clinical Midwifery Consultant at the Unit, said.

The founding director of CPR Kids, Registered Nurse Sarah Hunstead, said knowing when to act can be crucial.

"We know that what a parent does in the moments before an ambulance arrives may directly impact on a child's outcome," she said.

CPR Kids classes provided via RPA are currently being run remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the help of a nurse educator, Sara and Zebedee learned key skills in a 90-minute Zoom session; even practicing infant CPR on a plush toy.

"It was very useful and it's more comfortable [doing the course from home]," she said.

Participants also have 12-months access to an eLearning platform with guides and materials they can refer to in their own time.

"Participants who complete the course have told us they feel empowered. It gives them the peace of mind that they can act with confidence in an emergency," Bithia said.

Sara agrees.

"I would definitely recommend it to everyone. Anyone who has a new baby or is pregnant or has small kids should do this."

CPR Kids classes provided via Sydney Local Health District cost $99 and are open to anyone who would like to learn these first aid skills.

Participants who sign up for the virtual class will receive a 20 per cent discount code to use should they choose to complete a face-to-face class once COVID restrictions ease.

To learn more, visit https://www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/rpa/womenandbabies/parentEducation/default.html.