Parents love new baby CPR course

Central Saanich firefighters taught course earlier this month; may offer it in the future

Central Saanich Fire Inspector Rob Syverson helps new moms Elisa Nightingale (left) with 11-month-old Ethan Mitchell and Laura Judson (right) with eight-month-old Maelle Judson

A handful of firefighters, 30 mothers, fathers and grandparents and 10 babies came together last weekend to practise the life-saving skill of CPR.

On Jan. 12, Central Saanich Fire Inspector Rob Syverson taught the CPR and first aid course to parents and caregivers at the new firehall on Keating X Road.

“Normally I teach this same type of course about twice a year through Island Health’s Baby Talk group,” explained Syverson.

“Recently I had a mother approach me about teaching an additional course which I was happy to do.”

That mother was Laura Judson who has an eight-month-old daughter named Maelle. The two are part of a local baby group and Judson said other group members showed instant interest in the course.

“I know for me, my daughter is at the age where she’s starting to eat solids and she also puts everything in her mouth, so this course took a lot of the fears I had about her choking and replaced them with tools I can use should we ever need them,” explained Judson, adding that choking can be a common occurrence for babies learning to eat solids.

“It makes me comfortable knowing that I can handle this vulnerable time in her life,” she said.

Aside from learning the skills to properly perform CPR, attendees at the course also learned basic first aid to deal with incidents such as choking, burns and falls.

Syverson said it’s important for parents and caretakers to have these skills because they are the ones on the front lines.

“The parents or caretakers are the ones who are right there. If there’s an incident, they can get on assessing it or treating it if they have the skills before the first responders even get there, and that’s better for everyone.”

Judson said the course Syverson offered at the fire hall differed from the course taught through Island Health at Baby Talk because mothers and caregivers were able to bring their babies with them and have them looked after by volunteers.

“New moms tend to miss out on the full four-hour course because babies often need to nurse during that time period and infant care is difficult to arrange,” she explained.

“Sunday’s course had playpens for naps, blankets on the floor for playtime, volunteers to help cuddle fussy babies and a comfortable setting for mothers to nurse.”

Judson also added the course only cost $8.

“We just paid the $8 to get our CPR cards from Red Cross, other than that it was all volunteer based which we really appreciated.”

Syverson said there’s no current plan to offer the course on a regular basis but that he will offer it again if there’s an interest expressed.