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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 23:54 GMT 00:54 UK
Pupils 'need first aid training'
First-aid lesson
The Red Cross wants more training for dealing with emergencies
All children should learn basic first aid - such as dealing with choking, bleeding and shock - at school, the British Red Cross says.

Its survey of 1,960 adults suggests that 90% of the population believe the subject should be compulsory.

The Red Cross says one million children are injured every year.

It argues that simple first-aid techniques, such as tilting an unconscious person's head back, could save hundreds of lives.

Knife wounds

The Red Cross also published a survey of 11 to 14-year-olds which suggested that only 42% knew how to treat somebody who had injured their hand with a knife.

Some 41% of the 368 spoken to would have removed the weapon from the wound, increasing blood loss.

Another 6% would have applied pressure to the knife in an attempt to stop bleeding.

Joe Mulligan, head of first aid at the British Red Cross, said: "If we are serious about reducing the incidents of injury and death then we need to make sure that people have the skills to respond in an emergency.

"There are certain life-saving skills that all young people should know, wherever they live in the UK, and teaching children in school is the ideal way to make this happen.

"However, the provision for first aid education on the curriculum varies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and nowhere are young people required to learn a comprehensive set of skills that would prepare them for an emergency."

A Department for Education and Skills spokeswoman said: "There is scope to explore first aid as part of the Personal Social and Health Education framework.

"For example at Key Stage 3 (ages 11 to 14) pupils can learn about basic emergency aid procedures and at Key Stage 4 (ages 14 to 16), resuscitation techniques.

"However, it is for individual schools to decide what is covered in their PSHE programme."

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