Leader comment: Give children a vital life skill

Many of us travel through life knowing that if we needed to give urgent first aid to a stranger, a colleague, a friend or even a member of our family, there are certain situations where we would not know what to do. How many of us know how to perform CPR, or use a defibrillator? Being able to help a heart attack victim with these relatively simple procedures increases the chances of survival dramatically, from 10 to 50 per cent.

Teaching children first aid gives them a skill they will take into adulthood.

And yet instead of taking the time to learn these vital skills, we simply hope that we never have to face that kind of situation, or if we do, that there will be someone else present who knows what to do. Inevitably, some of us will have cause to regret our thinking.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Like all good habits, an early introduction is helpful, and that is especially true of first aid because we could find ourselves on the spot at any time in our lives. Therefore, a call today for all primary school children in Scotland to be given first aid training should be heeded. Primary pupils are given guidance on diet, introduced to cycle proficiency, and have even been given a guarantee of the opportunity to play golf in recent years. Basic first aid – such as how to make a 999 call, and how to put someone in the recovery position - should be added to that list, as a mandatory requirement.

St Andrews First Aid has suggested that this could be achieved through its network of volunteers visiting every school, in a partnership with local authorities and the Scottish Government. This is an open door we should be pushing through. If children are alerted to how important this knowledge is at an early age, they are far more likely to be equipped with life saving skills as an adult.