Each year 54,000 Australian children are injured or killed. For every minute that CPR is not done when needed, the chance of the child's survival decreases by 10%. What happens in the first five minutes hold the key to saving their life. Making it essential that we need more people of all ages who are trained and willing to provide immediate CPR while waiting for professional help to arrive.
The CPR Family Challenge is doing just that. Powered by Kidzaid the CPR Challenge will be taking place at Crown Melbourne on Good Friday, April 3 in support of the Royal Children's Hospital.
The aim of the CPR Challenge is not only to skill parents and grandparents, but to also to set the world record for the most people trained in paediatric CPR in a six hour period, whilst raising significant funds for the Royal Children's Hospital.
On Good Friday, the Palladium Room at Crown Melbourne will be converted into a training centre and family fun day. Nurses, paramedics and medical practitioners will provide the training.
Entry to the event is free, with gold coin donations for children's activities and a $5 registration fee for adults to complete the CPR training.
All Victorian parents, grandparents and carers are encouraged to accept the challenge and register to be part of this world record event by visiting cprchallenge.com.au. The event's social media platforms will also be filled with important information and exciting surprises in the lead up to the day.
The CPR Challenge is powered by KidzAid Paediatric First Aid Training, and supported by Crown Melbourne, Australian First Aid Training, Melbourne Child, Dorevitch and Zoll.
Question: Can you talk us through your experience with resuscitation?
Kassie Watling: I am a registered nurse, and my experience in resuscitation was initially only professional. I had used it occasionally, not as often as one would think in an emergency department, but certainly it was something that I did as -part of my job.' I was often the leader of the team performing resuscitation, with all the technology to assist.
As a child I was quite ill, and my parents performed CPR on me a number of times whilst waiting for an ambulance to come. I had never given it much thought, even as a qualified as a nurse or became specialised in Emergency Nursing.
Then I had to use the skill as a mummy and everything took on a new perspective.
Question: When did you learn CPR?
Kassie Watling: As part of my job, I learnt CPR immediately upon becoming a nurse.
Prior to that I had held current first aid certification as a teenager, and carried it with me into adulthood.
Question: What motivated you to participate in First Aid Training?
Kassie Watling: I wanted to -KNOW' how to do it. We lived in a small country town, and there are limited resources there. We were often camping, or playing sport or on someone's farm. I hated the thought of not knowing how to do something and it being required one day. And if it WAS required, then it was vitally important that someone know what to do.
Question: How often do you renew your training?
Kassie Watling: Annually.
It is good to keep it fresh, and people assume nurses know everything about first aid and CPR. The truth is that although we all get taught CPR, unless you use it regularly or train regularly, it is very easy to forget stuff or overlook things. And First Aid has different things in it than what a nurse or a doctor does. As an Emergency Nurse and as a Mummy, I want that particular skill to be finely honed and failsafe!
Question: You've had to practice resuscitation twice on your own child; can you talk about those horrific experiences?
Kassie Watling: I had been up all night with my son Sam, who was not a year old yet. He was sick, and we had spent a long night together. It was finally morning. I planned to go to the doctor with him that day. I asked my parents to watch him, while I had a showered and washed the night's dealings away, hopefully setting us both up for a better day.
I stepped out of the shower, and immediately recognised that something was wrong. Sam had choked, and now was no longer breathing. My mum had a background in intensive care nursing, but my dad was a truck driver. They started CPR, and I stepped in to help them. It felt like it was forever, but it also happened very quickly. Sam revived, coming back to life in my arms.
Later, in the hospital, waiting to be I was feeding Sam, and he started coughing again. Again he choked, and I started doing back blows, hoping to clear his obstruction.
Then he stopped breathing.
This time I started CPR, and kept going until the emergency staff were ready with their equipment and then handed him over to them.
Again he revived with no complications. I was a wreck, but very proud of what I had managed to do.
I took him home, and he has had no further issues since. The only thing that I could think about was 'What if?!" What if I did not know how to manage a choking or dead baby and did not know how to do CPR? Would I still have my boy?
Watching the life leave him, and then breathing air into his lungs, pumping the blood around his body and feeling the life come back in him, was the most empowering and powerful experience I have had. So very profound.
Question: After this, what advice do you have for other parents?
Kassie Watling: All of the information parents worry about and research and double check when it comes to their children, is null and void if you do not know first aid, or CPR for your child.
The skill may not ever be required for your own children, but they may save somebody, some day. And that knowledge, the skill, of managing an emergency until professionals arrive, of fighting for the life of your child, is irreplaceable and priceless. Learn first aid, get competent with CPR, learn what to do in an emergency. It is a very easy superpower to obtain!
Question: Why do you encourage families to participate in the CPR Family Challenge?
Kassie Watling: A fun, family centred way to learn a very valuable skill. The challenge is focused on giving people hands on experience in an unintimidating, relaxed environment.
Interview by Brooke Hunter