The Order of Malta’s Southern Regional Director, Mr. Tim Sullivan, has called for mandatory first aid training, which he suggests should be implemented in transition year at secondary school.

The call coincided with the launch of the annual ‘Be First Aid Prepared – Accidents Happen’ campaign, run by TCP in conjunction with Order of Malta Ireland. The campaign aims to encourage families to be prepared for accidents that may occur in and around the home and garden during the summer – statistically the time of year when most accidents happen.

Research carried out by TCP shows that 50 per cent of Irish people have not participated in a first aid course.

According to Mr. Sullivan the fact that half of Ireland’s population hasn’t been trained in first aid is of great concern. “A basic knowledge of first aid is essential and provides valuable skills, which may some day lessen the pain and trauma of someone you care about and may even help in saving someone’s life,” he said.

The TCP survey also revealed that while 40 per cent of respondents use a first aid kit in the home on a monthly basis, 60 per cent of respondents are unsure or don’t know what a first aid kit should contain.

Order of Malta Ireland recommends that in addition to attending a first aid course, every household should have a well-stocked first aid kit. While most parents worry about accidents occurring during school time, research has shown that 40 per cent of accidents occur between June and September. August has the highest number of accidents with 11 per cent while 17 per cent of accidents will happen on a Saturday.

Research also shows that boys are more at risk than girls. Males aged 10-19 experience 34 per cent of accidents, while females aged between 0-9 experience 24 per cent. Of the total accidents that happen, the majority of accidents are falls (45 per cent) followed by being struck or hit (35 per cent).

Order of Malta Ireland recommends the following basic requirements for a first aid kit: plasters, varying sizes of sterile wound dressings, antiseptic solution, burns dressing, bandages, paramedic shears, eye pad, gloves, resuscitation barrier and safety pins.

Order of Malta Ireland has also outlined a series of handy tips on how best to protect family members from accidents around the home. The TCP First Aid Tip Sheet can be downloaded from

Some tips on first aid:

* Flush burns and scalds immediately with cold running water for 10 minutes

* Never remove clothing that is stuck to a burn or scald

* To control nosebleed tilt head forward and pinch nostrils

* Try not to heat bottles in the microwave. If you do, shake the bottle well afterwards and allow it to stand for at least one minute before giving it to your baby. This will allow it to reach its maximum temperature

* Supervise your child when playing in or near water

* Cut sausages fully along the length before giving them to children

* Discourage your child from running or playing while holding items in his or her mouth

* Ensure all chemicals are stored outside your child’s reach and in their correct containers fitted with childproof caps

* Keep your doctor and emergency contact numbers close to the phone