Is your homeschool prepared for medical emergencies? Would you know what to do if your child started choking? The day my young son started turning blue at the kitchen table was the day our family realized the importance of knowing first aid! With a melon ball accidently lodged tightly in his windpipe, my son frantically motioned for help and grabbed at his throat. Using the Heimlich Maneuver, we were able to dislodge the melon and save my son's life.

Thankfully, we don't often have to face life-threatening moments like this one. However, according to a report in WebMD Medical News, dangers in the home cause 20,000 deaths, 7 million disabling injuries, and 20 million hospital trips in the U.S. each year. As a homeschooling family that lives together 24/7, we face the possibility of even more injuries that require a practical knowledge of first aid. Therefore, teaching our children how to administer medical treatment and when to seek professional help can be crucial.

Preparing for every medical emergency may not be realistic, but there are several resources from Alpha Omega Publications® (AOP) that will help you teach many common first-aid facts. The practical (and potentially life-saving) emergency medical treatment information found in LIFEPAC® Health or Switched-On Schoolhouse® High School Health will benefit your homeschool family with helpful, hands-on procedures. Plus, AOP's supplemental resource, The Kid's Guide to First Aid (All About Bruises, Burns, Stings, Sprains & Other Ouches) provides a fun way for children ages 9 and up to learn first aid. The detailed information and eye-catching illustrations make this an exciting unit study and cover a wide-range of first-aid topics. Here are two ideas that will give your younger children a head start in helping your family be prepared for emergencies:

Making an Emergency Number Checklist " When an accident happens and your child has dialed 9-1-1 for help, does he know the who, what, when, and where to say to the emergency personnel? Contact information such as name of household, address, and your phone number should be made into a list that a child can read and understand. Keep the list near your telephone and also include names, addresses, and phone numbers of your spouse's workplace, family doctor, nearest neighbor, local hospital, police, and poison control. Family members with serious allergies or medical conditions should also be noted on the list.

Creating Your Own First-aid Kit " Have your child make a first-aid kit and store it in a permanent safe place in your home (on an upper shelf away from toddlers). Small plastic lunch boxes with handles work great and your child can label it with large letters and decorate it with a red cross. Inform everyone, old enough to be responsible, of the kit's location and teach them to always return it to the same place. Include these common first-aid items: alcohol, antibiotic ointment, band-aids, cotton swabs, tweezers, elastic bandage and safety pins, tissues, first-aid tape, gauze (pads and roll), 1% - hydrocortisone cream, and a break-to-use ice pack (or have one ready in the freezer).

Don't let your family members be caught off guard. Teach your children first aid and make sure the medical emergencies in your homeschooling family have a happy ending. Whether it's knowing the treatment for blisters, splinters, and bloody noses or something more life-threatening such as treating an unconscious person or a choking victim, teach your children the right response that might spare a loved one pain or even save his life!