Do elementary schools provide basic first aid?

     When I picked up my daughter from school the other day we were just about to pull out and she said, “Oh mom, I stabbed myself with a pencil at school today and I got a band-aid”.  It never occurred to me that my child might stab herself with a pencil at the ripe old age of 8.  I asked her if anyone checked it.  Her response was, “No, I just got a band-aid.  Was someone supposed to?”  I am thinking to myself, does no one at this school practice basic first aid anymore?  I know that sounds a bit crass, and grumpy…but this is not the first time one of my kids has come home from school with a cut or scrape and told me that no one has rinsed off their wound before just sticking a band-aid. on it.

     We went back into the school nurse who looked at the stab mark and said, “I can’t tell if she’s got something in there or not…let me see if I have some peroxide to maybe get it to bubble up….if there’s something in there the bubbling might just help it work itself out.”  Turns out they had no peroxide in the nurses’ office that day.  They also did not have any tweezers sharp enough to pull out the ‘hard bit’ that the nurse thought she felt in the wound.  The nurse apologized profusely and said if we were at her house, she could certainly get to that little bit, but unfortunately she did not seem to have what she needed in her office that day.

     Hmmm.  I called my dear husband when we got home because my eyesight is just not what it used to be and I really needed a magnifying glass to see if there was anything in there.  Luckily he was able to talk and he assured me he would look at it when he got home later this evening.

     After rinsing off her wrist off and putting triple antibiotic ointment and a fresh band aid on, we went to choir practice later the same afternoon.  When the kids are down stairs singing I mentioned to one of the moms that my kid stabbed herself with a pencil today and no one at the school even bothered to check if there was any graphite or pencil bits in her wrist.  I then wise cracked that I wanted to know what had happened to providing basic first aid at school.  

     She exclaimed, “I know!  It’s crazy right?!  My son came home one day and said he’d slipped and cut himself playground and got a band-aid.  When my husband was giving my son a bath, he called down to me that he was going to take the bandage off and check out the cut…Then my husband again calls down to me that I should come take a look at the leg.  It turns out the ‘cut’ was almost an inch deep in my son’s leg!  I am thinking this is more than just a little cut.  My husband asked me if the school said anything, or if I got any kind of note.  I said nope… We both asked our son if anyone had washed it off, or put any ointment on it.  He said they just stuck a band-aid. on it and he went on playing.  We were shocked!”

     I mentioned to this same mom we had started a first aid module over the break because both our kids like to role play being the doctor on Star Trek Voyager and they like to pretend to perform all sorts of scans and injections.  She laughed and commented, “You might as well teach them first aid so they know what to do themselves!  At least that way you know they’ll get taken care of.”

     I thought about what that mom said to me again this morning and decided to write this post because I think it’s sad that our school nurse didn’t have the supplies she’d prefer when we were in her office the other day.  I think it’s even sadder that the ‘after care’ and ‘before care’ at our school doesn’t teach the kids to wash off their cuts and scrapes.  (Although I was assured by the Principal that they do…) But mostly, I want my kids to know what to do to take care of themselves.  When doing on-line searches for free first aid instruction, I found several websites that looked promising.  I have not completed courses on all of these…but I am listing a couple below for convenience.   Offers a free basic on-line first aid course that can be completed for a certificate.  looks to be rather comprehensive with both CPR and First Aid certificates available for free download upon course completion.  (Be sure to check your state regulations if you need CPR certification for work-related reasons.)
Please let me know if you have experienced similar incidents at your children’ s school?  And if so, did you do anything to address the issue?  Also, if there are other ‘free first aid’ websites you think are good, please share those too.


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