Joanne Gallacher
By Joanne Gallacher

Accidents at Christmas time


Child accidents at Christmas

Over the Christmas period the festive season is one of the busiest times for A&E departments with more than 80,000 injuries, pushing the monthly average number of accidents in the UK to its highest level.

Injuries range from burns sustained from lighting the Christmas pudding to electrocutions from fairy lights and, while they may add a bizarre twist to the statistics, they are still very serious and, in some cases, result in death.

So, getting the right first aid fast is very important – and would certainly reduce the severity of the injuries but, the chances are that anyone present when the accident occurred wouldn’t have a clue about what to do. Calling 999 or phoning a friend, by which time the minor accident has become severe. 

The UK is one of the lowest-ranking countries in Europe when it comes to knowledge on how to administer first aid. Fewer than four out of ten Brits would know what to do if they saw someone have an accident or suffer a heart attack. This compares extremely unfavourably with 80% of people in Germany and Scandinavia who possess first aid skills as a direct result of first aid training which is an integral part of both the school curriculum and vehicle driving test.

No-one knows better the importance of encouraging more Brits to learn how to save a life than Beth Chesney-Evans whose son, Guy, died in a motorbike accident when he was just 17. The teenager suffered no injuries at all but died because he stopped breathing. According to the pathologist at the inquest, Guy’s heart probably stopped due to an undiagnosed heart arrhythmia, which no-one knew anything about.

Similar to the condition that caused Bolton Wanderers player, Fabrice Muamba, to collapse in front of millions of TV viewers on the football pitch, arrhythmia causes the heart to beat irregularly, which can lead to a sudden cardiac arrest.

Fabrice touched the lives of millions and he was fortunate that expert help was available to keep him stay alive. In Guy’s case, the three friends riding with him at the time hadn’t had any first aid training themselves, weren’t given any first aid instructions by the emergency services and had to stand there as he died.

They are not alone. It is estimated that that as many as 140,000 lives might be saved each year if someone with the necessary training was able to offer instant first aid. The video below offers more information.

For more details about enrolling on a first aid course near you feel free to visit www.sja.org.uk


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