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Editorial: Child’s Death Highlights Need for First Aid in Schools

The death of the 7-year-old student at a school in Mumbai last week has once again highlighted the need for schools to be trained in first aid. With so many children under their care, why is it that most schools and playgroups in Mumbai fail to train in basic life saving skills? While the cause of the child’s collapse is still unknown, it seems that no one provided immediate CPR. Instead, he was taken to a nursing home — a place unlikely to have an AED or other emergency, life-saving equipment.

Instead of debating whether he had an underlying condition that caused his death, why are we not asking why was he not given basic first aid immediately at the school, and why was he not taken to the closest hospital with emergency facilities?  And yet—here we are, questioning whether he was already a sick child and why the parents had not informed the school of his condition, forcing the parents to defend themselves at a time when they are going through the ultimate loss.

Even if the child did have an underlying condition that the school was not aware of, it’s very possible he could have been saved if basic first aid was administered immediately. Because it wasn’t, we will never know.  As a mother and as a first aid instructor, this pains me.

As parents, we spend a vast amount of time and effort searching for the best playgroup, nursery, or school for our children. We consider a number of factors: teacher to student ratio, quality of teaching staff, learning methodology, ambience, location. However, most of us do not ask ourselves a crucial question: is this school adequately prepared and qualified to care for my child?  The best schools in India are. The more parents question schools’ first aid and safety policies, the more schools will adopt measures to ensure the safety of our children.