Learning how to do poolside first aid

As the recent tragic events in a WA home daycare show, it's vital for anyone with a pool to know how to perform first aid on a child if they fall into a pool. Here are some first aid tasks that anyone with a pool should be confident in doing while seeking emergency care. 

Performing CPR

One of the most vital things you should know as a pool owner is how to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, also known as "CPR", which combines mouth-to-mouth resuscitation with chest compressions. By being able to correctly perform CPR while waiting for an ambulance to come, you can minimise the chance of your patient suffering serious injuries, including brain damage from a lack of oxygen. This will also improve their chances of survival. Even if you have previously had training in CPR it is important to attend regular refresher courses to remind yourself of correct CPR technique, as well as getting updates on CPR protocols as research changes on the best practises for CPR on different age groups (from babies to adults). 

Pool side falls

Unfortunately the slippery surfaces in and around pools can easily lead to slips, trips and falls. Ideally, a first responder should know how to stem bleeding from an open wound whilst waiting for an ambulance, preventing the overall blood loss. This usually involves applying pressure using a bandage or towel, while encouraging the patient to stay still and calm. 

If there is a suspicion on a sprain or break, the person administering first aid can also apply ice and get the patient to elevate their injured limb while you wait for an ambulance. 

Heatstroke/Heat exhaustion

It can be easy for pool users to feel overly comfortable in and around the pool on a hot day, and ignore normal precautions around resting out of the sun and regularly drinking water. If one of the pool users becomes heat stroked they will become fevered and confused, and may become nauseous or even lose consciousness. In this case the first responder should cover the patient in a wet sheet and encourage them to drink water if possible. If the patient loses consciousness it is important to call for an ambulance, in case they require IV rehydration or other treatment. 

If you have a pool it is extremely important that you attend regular refresher courses for your first aid courses, so that you can keep your family safe and healthy beside the pool.