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Could Your Child be a First Aid Superhero?


It can be easy to underestimate children. Naturally, there are many things they can’t know yet and we don’t want them to take too much responsibility before they are ready. However, on the other hand, if they knew what to do in a medical emergency, they might genuinely save the day. Just like adults, children can be real-life first aid superheroes!

For children and young people who learn these essential skills, it can be truly empowering. It’s not just sticking plasters and friendly reassurance either; children can and do save lives. If you are not yet convinced, why not check out some real-life examples of brave children in the UK who have phoned 999 and acted as a first aider until help arrived?


First Aid Superhero: Millie, age 7, the Black Country 

Millie learned first aid at an after-school club. She may have been especially motivated since she knew that her Mum, Pamela, could sometimes be unwell. Five years of chemotherapy had left her with a weakened immune system. But when Pamela collapsed following a serious chest infection, she needed immediate help. She couldn’t breathe because her tongue fell back, blocking her airway.

Impressively, Millie recognised the problem and knew just what to do. She put her Mum in the recovery position and thankfully, her tongue shifted position, clearing her airway and allowing her to breathe.

Doctors say that Pamela may not have survived without Millie’s intervention. Princess Anne presented her with a Young Achievers Award. Millie was praised for her bravery, calmness and presence of mind.

Female paramedic reflects on a job well done.

Would your child know what to do until help arrives?

First Aid Superhero: Marshall, age 4, Leeds

Marshall was only four years old when his Mum, Jacqui, urgently needed his help. They had been about to go out to a party when she tumbled face-first down the stairs, knocking herself out and lacerating her head on her broken glasses. Unconscious for fifteen minutes, Jacqui awoke to find Marshall applying pressure to her head wound with a towel. “Are you alive, Mummy? I thought you’d died,” he said.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, he showed great presence of mind. Since Jacqui seemed confused and unable to get up, Marshall decided to find her phone. When her Face ID would not work due to her facial injuries, he entered her passcode. He was then able to ring his grandparents who live nearby, saying, “Mummy is hurt and she needs help.” At first, they were unable to gain entry, but Marshall posted the keys through the letterbox so they could let themselves in.

His calm response seems to be mainly thanks to first aid training he had taken part in. His Mum commented that she never thought that he would need to use first aid training at such a young age, but was so grateful that he had. Bear Grylls presented him with an ‘Unsung Heroes’ award.


First Aid Superhero: Cali-Maii, age 6, East London

Cali-Maii woke up to hear her Mum, Lauren gasping for air. Correctly recognising that it was an asthma attack, she didn’t hesitate to call 999. Fortunately, she was able to give their exact address. Her quick thinking meant that an ambulance was on scene in just 4 minutes. She unlocked the door so that paramedics could get in. Mum was losing consciousness at this point and the paramedics say that she was close to cardiac arrest. It is likely that Cali-Maii saved Lauren’s life that day.

The seriousness of Lauren’s asthma attack meant that she was rushed to intensive care under blue lights and needed a ventilator to help her breathe. She remained in hospital for six days.

London Ambulance Service presented Cali-Maii with an award for her bravery and heroic actions. This story underlines the importance of children knowing when to call 999, how to give their address and to unlock the door.

A boy holds a smartphone. He could be a first aid superhero.

Teach your child how to call 999 in an emergency

First Aid Superhero: George, age 8, Lincoln

George was just 8 when he was able to put his first aid skills into action. He and his family were on holiday in Scotland when his mum, Anne-Marie, began choking. His brothers stood up and started patting her on her back, but George’s training was fresh in his mind and he told them, “That’s not how you do it.” He delivered just one back slap and the blockage came out.

Princess Anne presented him with a Young Achievers award. Anne-Marie was “immensely proud” of her son and no doubt grateful that he’d known just what to do.


First Aid Superhero: Harrison, age 10, Blackburn

Harrison was only ten when his six year old sister, Eva, rushed into his room, red-faced and unable to breathe. He realised immediately that she was choking. Luckily, even though he didn’t feel brave at all, he remembered his first aid training from school and put it into practice. A single abdominal thrust was enough to dislodge the Lego brick she was choking on and to restore her airway. Though it was a frightening experience, Harrison was relieved that he could do what was needed.

Eva went to hospital to be checked out after her ordeal. Doctors decided that she had swallowed the toy brick and her family were reassured that it should work its way out.

The incident happened at home during the summer holidays, but news soon spread to his former primary school where his headteacher praised his quick response and calmness. His Dad spoke about how impressed he was with Harrison for remembering what to do and grateful to the school for providing the training.

Children practice first aid with fake wounds and a choking vest, where first aiders can clear an obstruction to a mock-airway.

With fake wounds and a choking vest (which has a mock-airway), learning first aid can be fun.


First Aid Superhero: Daisy, age 4, Nottinghamshire

Daisy was just 4 when her Mum, Aimee, became unresponsive and stopped breathing. Because Aimee had a heart condition, she taught all her children how to call 999 and to say their address and post code, just in case. The call handler gave clear, child-friendly instructions to help Daisy perform effective CPR. Thankfully, this seemed to be enough for Aimee to regain consciousness and start breathing.

We usually rule out the possibility of children this young being able to do CPR – for several reasons, actually – but in part due to their size. CPR has to be done with some force. However, in this case, incredibly, Daisy managed to do just what was needed and Aimee had the bruises to prove it afterwards (which is common after CPR, unfortunately).

Daisy was given a special Bravery certificate at her school by the East Midlands Ambulance Service and when she shared her story on This Morning, she was also offered a special day out at the London Aquarium.

Undeterred by the challenges of saving her Mum’s life, Daisy says she plans to be a paramedic or surgeon when she’s older.

A boy practices CPR using a manikin.

Children are capable of effective CPR.


We believe that children deserve not to be underestimated. We hope that these compelling true stories convince you that children of all ages are capable of learning powerful skills and even saving the lives of those around them, including adults. First aid training gives children the chance to learn what to do in a medical emergency and to practice those skills in a safe, friendly, child-centred environment. We love seeing children’s faces when they realise they can succeed at something that some adults don’t yet know how to do!


Courses for Children

Following impressive campaigns, First Aid is now part of the National Curriculum. It’s a brilliant opportunity for children to learn life skills that could genuinely save lives. Exactly what is taught can vary, but we believe it is a fantastic opportunity for children and young people to have the skills needed to become real-life superheroes.

We love delivering first aid training to children and young people in primary, secondary and SEN schools across Devon and Cornwall, to home-educated children, alongside their families in Family First Aid  as well as to Scout and Guide groups.

Get in touch if you want to find out more about what we can do for you.

by Charlie Burn