Are we all born with First-Aid Skills?

There was a fascinating story in the news the other day (22/11/16) on ITV1 Good Morning Britain.

untitledIt showed an interview between Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid with a mother and her nine-year-old son in Florida, USA.

The boy’s baby brother had fallen from a chest of drawers imminently heading for a possibly nasty ‘Impact Injury’ onto a carpeted floor.

The distance to impact was approximately 3 to 4-feet, enough to do some serious damage to the toddler.

Apart from obvious breaks to the body, there is the possibility of damage to internal organs or a serious head injury, with a strong possibility of death!

Instead, the nine-year old boy named Joseph actually sprung from nowhere as his nine-month old sibling flew off the ledge of the unit, only to be caught by his heroic, quick thinking brother. (See video link below). The mother was talking about ‘Angels’ dragging her son to save baby, or could this be his 6th sense stepping in?

Although Josephs mother talked about these ‘Angels’ intervening, I believe that ‘Instinct’ took over from an innate part of the little boy’s psyche.

There is, however, a physiological element here, known as ‘Adrenaline Release’, where this valuable Hormone (AKA as Chemical Messengers), stimulating the ‘Fright, Flight’ state in the body and mind. This is where the saviour reacts by being scared, which is followed by running away or running to the ‘Danger’.

The latter physiological explanation is probably more likely to be the case, in my humble opinion, because it illustrates that the human body can cope well in an emergency situation, providing valuable First Aid, where needed.

Last year, there was an equally fascinating story of a little 3-year old girl who called 999 when her pregnant mother fell down some stairs in their home. (See full story link below).

Did this child act out of instinct?

I don’t think so, because after all she is only 3!

Was it divine intervention from a power that we cannot see (the Angels theory)?

I doubt it!

I think that the little girl’s Adrenal Gland stimulated a large amount of Adrenaline, causing her to take action, by picking up the telephone and dialling 999, explaining what happened to her mother and giving out their home address.

She had clarity and accuracy to be able to carry out these essential basic First Aid measures.

On July 30th 2008, a little 9-year old boy saw another child in the bottom of a pool and revived her.

The girl apparently nearly choked to death from swallowing too much water and the boy saw her lifeless body and administered First Aid.

On November 2015 there was another amazing story of a girl who saved her sibling and mother.

The five-year-old girl named Lexi was awarded a medal for saving their lives after their car plunged down an embankment in the Canadian Rockies.

Her mother was driving home her children, when she fell asleep at the wheel and crashed the car.

Little Lexi jumped into action (that’s Adrenaline for you!) and saved her family from imminent death.

A sadder story occurred on February 26th 2016, when a 10-year-old girl died while she was pushing a 2-year-old out of the way of a moving car.

The two children were playing around a car that was parked on a sloping driveway, when it shifted into neutral and started to roll backwards down the hill. (See story link below).

The little girl risked her life to push the younger children out of the way and was struck dead by the oncoming car.

Paramedics arrived and took her to a hospital, where she later died from her injuries.

What made this child make the decision to save the two toddlers, and in the process losing her own life to save theirs?

There are countless stories like this every week and we see them in the news all the time.

Do you think that maybe an advantage might be having good Situational Awareness?

This basically means that knowing your environment very well will aid you to react successfully in an emergency situation such as the ones above.

Another possibility might be that a threat to our well being stimulates the part of the body known as the ‘Amygdala’, which is basically a small structure, which is located in a primitive part of the Brain, known as the ‘Limbic System’.

So for example, if the planet started shaking beneath us, a panic button in the Amygdala is switched on and prepares your body to deal with the emergency.

Your ability to deal with the emergency will depend on many factors, but all other things being equal, the outcome will depend on how well you can cope ‘Psychologically’.

Most of the time, I believe that the senses we are born with, alert us to an emergency, such as the examples above.

We have the following senses that we are born with;

  1. Hearing
  2. Seeing
  3. Smelling
  4. Feeling
  5. Sixth Sense

Think about these senses now and imagine a scene, which involves an overturned car with smoke and fire coming from it, broken glass and exposed electric cables.

What senses are you using?

Probably all 5!

However, we would probably be assessing danger to you and everyone around you.

We also know that there are signs and symptoms that a victim might express, which requires Emergency First Aid.

Lets face it; we don’t need a qualification to see a casualty express any of the following signs and symptoms making us react to help them: –

  • Unconscious
  • Not breathing
  • Bleeding
  • Confusion
  • Trouble breathing
  • Clutching the chest
  • Shows a change in demeanour
  • Slurring speech
  • Giddiness
  • Hysteria


These signs & symptoms will help the rescuer decide the best First Aid action, which is required to save the casualty from dying. Even throwing a blanket on the casualty might be the key to saving their life!

I can only conclude that if First Aid is innate in us at birth, why do we not formally teach our young the valuable skills, which will help them confidently administer provide First Aid to a victim of an accident or emergency, ultimately saving their life.

Instinct is great but knowing how to channel it surely must be essential to us all.