A 9-year-old boy in Mesa, Arizona is being called a hero after rescuing his 2-year-old sister from drowning. The girl fell in the grandmother’s pool and was pulled out unconscious and not breathing. Her brother performed CPR on her. The boy, Tristin Saghin, said he learned CPR from watching television.
The little girl was taken to the hospital where she’s expected to be fine, thanks to her brother’s lifesaving efforts. In a situation that would have caused many adults to panic, he stayed calm and did what had to be done to save his sister.
Most of us wouldn’t trust a 9-year-old to stay home alone while we run to the grocery store for milk. Cases like Tristin’s just show how capable kids really are.
As Lenore Skenazy never tires of telling us at Free Range Kids, children are remarkably competent. If a 9-year-old can perform CPR and save a life, he can probably be trusted to get safely to and from school on his own, stay home alone and play outside without an adult supervisor.
Would your kids have been ready for an emergency the way Tristin was? While he got lucky and learned enough from TV to perform CPR when he needed to, there are steps you can take to help your kids be ready if an emergency occurs.
The federal government has a program called Ready Kids, designed to teach kids emergency preparedness skills. It’s focus is on getting kids involved in making a family emergency plan in case of natrual disaster or fire, and having an emergency survival kit ready. Older kids can take classes in CPR, first aid and lifeguarding.
For younger kids, there are some basics every child should know:
- Kids should know who to call for help, and how to make that call. Even a little kid can learn to operate a cell phone, and they should know how to dial 911 from any phone. Calling 911 from a landline is best if there’s one available, but even a call from a cell phone is better than nothing.
- Kids should know their own phone number and address. This is key if they get lost, and can be vital information for rescuers if they need to make a call.
- Kids should know where the first aid kit is. You have a well-stocked first aid kit, right? If not, get one. Keep it accessible, and make sure the whole family knows where it is. You want to keep it somewhere secure from curious toddler fingers, of course, but once a child is old enough to grasp that it’s not a toy, she should be able to get to it. That way if you fall and break an ankle, she can bring you an ace bandage and an ice pack.
What other must-have skills or knowledge do kids need to handle emergencies? Let us know in the comments.
Here’s video of Tristan talking about the rescue: