New School Starts: How Safe are your Children?


When it comes to schools and finding the perfect establishment to send your child to, there’s a certain checklist you abide by when choosing, right?

You consider the curriculum for the year, what topics and subjects will be covered, average exam scores, what facilities are provided and so on.

But in your many considerations before deciding on a specific school, where does an accessible defibrillator and first aid trained staff rank?

It may not be something you’ve thought of before, but just these two factors alone can make a huge difference on the overall safety of the environment that your child spends 190 days of the year.

  • Safer Schools

Having a defibrillator ready to use, especially in a school can make a massive difference to survival statistics of cardiac arrest; no one is immune from SCA meaning children can suffer from it too. Effective CPR and the use of a defibrillator are the only definitive treatment for cardiac arrest, if treatment is given within 3-5 minutes of SCA the survival chance jumps drastically from 6% to 74%, making it an essential piece of safety equipment for any school.

Just about anyone can use a defibrillator; and so your child would be in safer hands if one was present in school. CPR and the life-saving shock delivered from a defibrillator is the only definitive treatment for SCA and so having the knowledge that your child’s school is a Heart Safe location gives parent’s further peace of mind about their child’s safety whilst they’re in school.

If the staff at your child’s school aren’t trained in first aid, have you considered ambulance response rates for the area? How long is it before an ambulance can get there? Where is the closest dispatch centre for ambulances in relation to the school area? When administering treatment, every second is crucial as with every passing minute where no treatment is given, survival chance drops 10%, this is why knowing how quickly first aid care can be provided is vital for the overall safety of the pupils and staff.

Unfortunately, first aid isn’t currently on the National Curriculum for the UK despite the many bills which have petitioned for this to be taught in schools. In comparison to the likes of Denmark where children as young as 11 have been taught first aid in school since 2005, the UK is miles behind in terms of school safety where other European countries have prioritised.

  • Fire Safety

As well as having access to life-saving devices, it’s vital to know schools take consideration for all safety protocols. Some things parents should take into consideration for fire safety:

  • Where is the main fire exit located?
  • Is there an evacuation plan in place?
  • Are the right fire extinguishers in suitable places?
  • Are the precautions in place, ready to be used in action?

All of these questions in regards to the schools safety measures help to give parents reassurance and to decide whether they’re happy with the chosen health and safety precautions in place before registering their child.

  • Millie’s Mark

Whilst no immediate action is being taken for first aid to be mandatory in primary and high schools, a new law dubbed ‘Millie’s Mark’, states all staff in early years centres, such as nurseries, will have to have compulsory paediatric  first aid training. Anyone who isn’t trained will not count towards the adult to child ratio in that company. The implementation of this law is due to toddler, Millie Thompson, tragically passing away in a choking incident whilst at nursery in 2012.

Having more early years staff who understand the differences in first aid and paediatric first aid will help prevent incidents, such as this, reoccurring.

Here at we’re thrilled that action is being taken to ensure the safety for children and staff at nurseries. This lawful requirement however has only been put into practice through the awareness of Millie’s tragic death. Had this been made a mandatory requirement prior to Millie’s death, the chances are Millie would still be here with her parents today.

We’re extremely pleased Nursery Staff workers will now have the skills to perform paediatric first aid, but how long will it be until primary and secondary schools follow suit?

  • What Can I Do?

The simple thing to do is ask. Ask every question you can think of! The answers will provide you with the decision whether the school you’re investigating is safe enough for your child.

If you’re happy, but still want to go that extra mile, why not create your child a make shift first aid bag? Plasters are sure to be the main feature here, but hey, why not? You’re only helping to make the school environment a safer place.

What precautions does your child’s school take? Do they have a defibrillator on site, ready to use? Leave us a comment or tweet us @defibshop and share what it is about your child’s school that goes the extra mile to invest in pupil safety.

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