Children can be the only persons present in an emergency situation. Aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of a first aid course for 4-5-year-old kindergarten children given by a first aid instructor and kindergarten teachers. Methods
A mixed methods approach using both quantitative and qualitative methods was used to investigate the effects of teaching first aid in the kindergarten in the present study. 10 kindergarten children at the age of 4-5 years were included in a pilot-study, 5 girls and 5 boys. Three of them were four years and seven were five years old. Two months after completion of the first aid course children were tested in a scenario where the children had to provide first aid to an unconscious victim after a cycle accident. The next seven months the children were followed by participant observation. Results
The findings suggest that 4-5-year-old children are able to learn and apply basic first aid. Tested two months after course completion 70% of the children assessed consciousness correctly and knew the correct emergency telephone number; 60% showed correct assessment of breathing and 40% of the participants accomplished the other tasks (giving correct emergency call information, knowledge of correct recovery position, correct airway management) correctly. Many of the children showed their capabilities to do so in a first aid scenario although some participants showed fear of failure in the test scenario. In an informal group testing most of these children could perform first aid measures, too. Teaching first aid also lead to more active helping behaviour and increased empathy in the children. Conclusion
Kindergarten children aged 4-5 years can learn basic fist aid. First aid training should start in the kindergarten. Introduction and background
Laypersons are an important factor for saving lives in emergency situations. According to Eisenburger and Safar Life-Supporting First-Aid (LSFA) should be part of basic health education and all persons from the age of 10 should learn LSFA-skills including Basic Life-Support (BLS) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) . One important barrier and main concern of laypersons about giving first aid to acute ill or injured people is the fear to make mistakes. In Austria 68% of the participants of a study (n = 597) stated that they would not provide first aid because they feared to do something wrong . Several studies have shown a clear relationship between the level of first aid training and the quality of first aid measures provided [2-4]. This underlines the importance of first aid training for the public. Unfortunately first aid training does not increase the rate of helping . Therefore the motivation to help others is paramount and the helping rate can probably be increased by first aid courses that include strategies to overcome inhibitors of emergency helping behaviour . There are many examples of children who have provided first aid measures or saved lives by recognizing life-threatening emergency situations in the media. In a number of cases small children have saved the life of a parent at home just by giving an emergency call and informing the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) or the Fire Department. In a recent case from Germany a four-year-old girl saved the life of her 31-year-old mother, who suffered from hypoglycaemia by calling for help at night-time . This case illustrates that a young child can be the only person present in case of an emergency and that first aid education therefore should start as early as feasible. Several authors have documented that school children can learn and provide first aid and life supporting first aid measures and have advocated that primary school children should learn first aid in school [6-9]. An own study of primary school children demonstrated that 6-7-year-old children can give basic first aid to an unconscious patient and that a first aid course with 5 lessons leads...