Did you know that, traditionally, the Christmas period sees a spike in accidents? With emergency situations peaking, haven spoke to First Aid Accident and Emergency to debunk some first aid myths.


It’s true. Accidents are on the rise especially around Christmas time. It seems adults just can’t help themselves if there’s a new scooter, new bike or fancy skateboard to road test on Christmas Day! According to First Aid Accident and Emergency (FAAE) director Scott Whimpey, some parents take playing with their kids’ toys or “showing their kids how to use them” very seriously and land themselves in Christmas Day trouble. “Trauma admissions rise at Christmas because adults consume alcohol and play with toys meant for their kids – not the big kids,” he says.


Having trained some 30,000 local Gold Coast people and businesses in his time (including Jupiter’s Casino, Bond and Griffith universities, Morris international, Billabong and Mantra), Scott says there are a few first aid myths that always do the rounds. With the festive season now in full swing, it is the perfect time for some serious first aid myth busting.


  1. Fainting

Myth: Place the patient’s head between their knees.

Reality: Face is pail, raise the tail

Fainting is the body’s way of telling you to lie down naturally. So if someone faints, allow them to lie down. Don’t sit the person up because they can become unconscious and if their head tilts forward they can stop breathing. We recommend that you lay the person down on their side if they’re unconscious and then when they’re conscious turn them onto their back and raise and support their legs.


  1. Burns

Myth: Slather on butter, toothpaste or aloe vera gel.

Reality: The best first aid for burns is water and plenty of it. Do not use butter, lotions, creams or oils on a burn and don’t remove anything that is sticking to the burn. To avoid scarring and long healing times, FAAE recommends placing the burn under cold running water until it returns to normal temperature, which is usually about 20 minutes. An acceptable improvisation for a non-stick dressing is to use cling wrap over the wound.


  1.  Seizures and fits

Myth: Place something hard between the patient’s jaws to stop them swallowing their tongue.

Reality: When someone is having a seizure it’s not actually possible for people to swallow their own tongue. The only thing you will achieve by putting fingers in their mouth is an amputated finger – or maybe a hand full of vomit. FAAE recommends you let the person have their seizure in peace. Prevent intervention by well-meaning onlookers and place something under their head for protection (a jumper or jacket is ideal as it will stop any facial abrasions or head injuries).


  1. People seriously injured in a car accident

Myth: Move the victim away from the scene

Reality: Don’t move them unless absolutely necessary – it is potentially more damaging.

People often think they should move a person out of a car wreck and lay them down nicely for ambulance officer. FAAE recommends NOT to move the person unless there is a danger, for example, the car exploding (which is actually very rare) or the car is in a dangerous position in the middle of the road.


  1. Choking

Myth: Carry out the Heimlich maneuver immediately.

Reality: Encourage the person to relax and cough. People still believe in the Heimlich maneuver, but it can cause damage. FAAE recommends that you encourage the person to relax and cough in the first instance and if this is not successful at dislodging the stuck item, lay the patient across your legs if small enough to do so or lean them downwards towards the ground and hit them hard between the shoulder blades.


First-Aid-courses-for-parentsKnowing a few first aid basics could help you increase someone’s chance of survival. FAAE specialises in live first aid training courses and conduct four courses every week at the Varsity Lakes Sports House and can also provide training in private homes or workplaces. These fully accredited courses cover first aid, CPR, asthma and anaphylaxis as well as advanced resuscitation. FAAE has also recently teamed up with the Gold Coast City Council to offer non-accredited free workshops in CPR awareness and a $10 Mums and Bubs workshop perfect for those parents wanting to sharpen their first aid skills with baby’s arrival. Visit FAAE’s Facebook page or website for details.


Visit www.firstaidae.com.au


Belinda Glindemann

Belinda Glindemann  

Belinda knew she was destined for a career in communications and publishing from the age of 11 when her Year 6 teacher introduced her to poster projects and glitter pens. She completed her journalism cadetship in the Whitsundays and went on to hold various newspaper and magazine editor roles across Brisbane in a media career spanning more than a decade. When Belinda's not writing for haven, she runs her own PR agency, kid-wrangles two young daughters and drinks way too much sweet tea.