Mum of toddler who suffered bad burns from a cup of tea is encouraging parents to download first aid app from Red Cross

A Sussex mum is backing a campaign by The Red Cross and urging parents to familiarise themselves with how to deal with an emergency at home to mark First Aid Day today (September 11).


The charity is encouraging everyone to learn lifesaving skills by downloading the first aid app via the app store or Google play

Children dancing, being bitten by a snake and cooking have all caused first aid injuries at home during lockdown, according to the survey.

The concerning new research, carried out by Opinium, showed that while nearly three-fifths (58%) of parents with children under 14 years old have dealt with an accident at home, a quarter of parents (25%) say they wouldn’t know how to help their child in a first aid emergency in the home. Sixty two percent of parents admit they feel worried, scared or helpless when dealing with a first aid scenario at home.

During lockdown, first aid emergencies at home included burns as children helped in the kitchen, falling off beds or other objects in the home. Bumps and bruises as children burnt off energy playing at home were also common.

With the future of how coronavirus will continue uncertain, nearly three-fifths [57%] of parents with children under 14 think it’s important to learn first aid skills ahead of any potential second lockdown.

Which is why The British Red Cross has created the simple and easy to use first aid app to encourage everyone to learn vital first aid skills in just one minute.

Claire James, 33, is one of those parents. Her two-year-old-son William poured scalding tea onto himself at the family home in Horsham in May this year, during lockdown.

William suffered burns to his body and arm. But doctors said his father, Edward’s first aid skills saved William from needing months of painful treatment and skin grafts.

Claire shared her terrifying testimony on Facebook urging parents to learn first aid skills for burns.

In the post Claire said: “This morning the stuff of nightmares happened. William reached up and pulled a freshly made cup of tea off the kitchen side, and it spilt all over him. I can’t even begin to describe the guilt I am feeling at this very moment. I’m convinced I’ll never stop crying, actually.

“But what I really felt I needed to do in light of this, was share exactly what you need to do if your child does spill hot or boiling water on them – as while nurses at the hospital know these accidents are common in children, they absolutely despair at how little parents know, when it comes to treating scalds on their children.

“I’ve got three or four messages in my inbox, from parents whose children went through the same thing in the weeks following William’s accident, and having read my post they knew what to do. One woman was messaging me from A&E with her daughter.”

The accident happened one Sunday morning in May. Claire shivers as she recalls: “It was my first cup of tea of the day. It’s no exaggeration to say that all it took was enough time to put the milk back in the fridge. Then it happened. I froze but my husband Edward knew what to do.”

In an instant, Edward had little William in the kitchen sink and was running cool water over the burn. The hot liquid soaked William’s t-shirt against his skin. But Edward, who has had first aid training at work, knew he needed to wait until the material had cooled down before carefully removing it.

“The skin was literally peeling off William’s body and going down the sink,” said Claire, “It was horrendous.”

They called an ambulance and then rushed William upstairs to the shower, to get more cool water onto the burns over William’s body.

Claire said: “I spent 25-minutes in the shower with William, and that was the worst part for William, because he just didn’t understand what was happening. But the hospital said that was the critical part for us - we had kept William’s burn under the cool water.

She said: “If Edward wasn’t there I don’t know what I’d have done. He saved the day.”

James Reed, a British Red Cross First aid spokesperson, who trains people across the South East, said: “Our concerning new research shows that whilst nearly three-fifths of parents have had to deal with an accident in the home, a quarter wouldn’t know how to help their child in a first aid emergency. With more parents at home with their kids during lockdown it’s as vital as ever to learn these simple, yet lifesaving skills.

“We also know that visits to A&E went down dramatically during this time, so we all need to be ready to handle basic injuries at home, and recognise when an incident needs urgent medical intervention.

“We know that lockdown has seen parents juggling multiple responsibilities, that’s why we’ve found a way to make learning first aid as quick and easy as possible – with our first aid app.”

Claire now wants to encourage all parents to get first aid training or download the British Red Cross app.

She said: “Hindsight makes me realise how easy it is to have these accidents. The shame I felt about it; the guilt has been terrible.

“No-one I know is a bad parent, but this is something that could happen to anyone.

“I would urge everyone to have first aid training. I felt I let William down, because I didn’t know what to do. If I’d have had an app that would have helped enormously, and if I’d had formal first aid training that would have been even better.”

William has since made a full recovery. Claire who was six weeks pregnant at the time of the accident, said: “Talking about it now makes me feel so impassioned because getting first aid training is such an obvious thing to do, but we don’t make time to do it, and you regret it so much when something like this happens.”

Claire’s husband Edward said: “I am lucky enough to have regular and formal first aid training, as it is a necessity for my job. However, incidents such as this just go to show what a valuable asset the training is, whether at work or not. I would urge anyone, especially a parent, to take the time to have formal first aid training. If like Claire you’re not able to attend a course in person owing to lockdown, then an app such as the British Red Cross app would be a good place to familiarise yourself, or a vital lifeline in an emergency.”

First aid skills you can learn in one minute on the Red Cross first aid app include:

How to help a child who is choking

How to help a child with a broken bone

How to help a child with burn

How to help a child with head injury

After ten years of campaigning from the British Red Cross and other organisations, school children across England will learn lifesaving skills as part of the school curriculum to empower a future generation of lifesavers. The British Red Cross is also calling for first aid a compulsory part of the school curriculum in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The British Red Cross has developed a free first aid app, once downloaded, the app is designed to work even when internet connections are unavailable, and will guide the user through emergencies situations, as well as providing training and games.

Download the first aid app via the app store or Google play.