October 2010


First Aid in the Classroom

Chayada Klinpongsa

International Affairs Coordinator

Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital

How many teachers could save a child from sure death if that child were to go into an epileptic fit, or anaphylactic shock? Do you even know what those words mean outside of a dictionary definition?

How about sudden acute vomiting or what is the treatment for sudden choking? Many of the most serious situations for children, unfortunately and more than likely the majority of teachers do not have a clue as to how to treat or what to do until a trained medical professional arrives.

This October, TEN was treated to a magical tour of first aid that was eye opening and took the mystery out of many potential hazards for our students.

Chayada Klinpongsa, International Affairs Coordinator of Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, a respected and experienced nurse, led the assembled faculty, staff and administrators of TEN on a practical guide to first aid in the classroom.

She started by explaining many of the ‘first aid’ misconceptions quite common with the public. Then, she went on to give us an understanding of what blood pressure means. Does anyone really know if 120 over 85 is good or bad?

She showed us how to perform a Heimlich maneuver without breaking someone’s ribs. I didn’t even know that was possible, but evidently it is quite common for the untrained person to do.

One thing that stood out in my mind was her explanation of cardiac arrest and how it must be treated: ABC

Airway – open and clear

Breathing – make sure it’s happening

Circulation – check

When someone is in cardiac arrest the first thing to do is make sure their airway is clear and ask them if they are ok. Then call an EMS technician. Follow this by checking their breathing; look, listen, & feel, and lastly check their circulation.

Nurse Chayada went on to explain the various possible challenges that could face an educator in the classroom. We should call an ambulance when faced with

A high fever above 40  Celsius

Convulsions and/or spasms

Severe headache/blurred vision

Severe stomach ache/severe diarrhea

Chest pain/difficulty in breathing


How many of us know the above treatment for cardiac arrest? I’ve looked for statistics on first aid training and teachers, but have been unable to find anything. I’m fairly adept at finding odd bits of info as well. How many teachers are actually trained in first aid? It boggles the mind and I had never really thought about it before this month.

The vast majority of us teach children. We take care of their mental capacity to think, deal with their emotional ups and down, and guide them to make valid choices in life. However, when it comes to the likelihood of being able to be there in their greatest time of need, we are sadly out to lunch.

I can’t talk for anyone else, but after this month’s TEN, I would feel criminally negligent if I did not get more information and/or training in first aid prior to going back into the classroom.

It doesn’t take that much time and we could save a life. Anyone of us could go through the rest of our life knowing we had saved the most precious of things in the universe; someone’s child, our student.

If you would like a CPR class at your school, Samitivej Hospital can provide one. The Thai Red Cross Society also provides first aid courses.

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