Parents want to ensure their kids’ safety in every aspect of life, whether at home on a summer afternoon, or during an emergency. Knowing how to save a life with basic first aid is an important skill. It's one that we hope to never have to use, but 40 per cent of Canadians have used first aid in an emergency at some point in their lives. However, recent research by the Canadian Red Cross shows that Canadians, including parents, are underprepared for a health emergency, with only 18 per cent of us currently certified to provide life-saving help.

Recent IPSOS polling across the country shows that 48 per cent of Canadians with kids at home don’t think they have the skills to provide life-saving basic first aid in an emergency; this is only marginally better than the 52 per cent of Canadians in childless households who believe they wouldn’t have the skills to help. Even more worrying, the research also found that 1 in 3 Canadians with kids at home say they have never taken a first aid course.

The Red Cross research found some areas of particular concern. Canadian parents were even less likely than those without kids to say they would recognize the signs of choking, a serious concern given how frequently and quickly this can happen with children. Eighty-nine per cent of respondents with kids at home said they would recognize the signs of choking, compared to 91 per cent of those without kids. Fewer than 70 per cent of Canadians, with or without kids, say they have the skills to save a life if someone is choking.

First aid is personal. Although many of us are trained through work, nearly 60 per cent of Canadians who have used their first aid skills did so to help a family member. Saturday is World First Aid Day. Be prepared to save a life by registering to update your training at www.redcross.ca/firstaid.