How often do Nannies and Au Pairs need to update their first aid certificates?


Louise is 38,  she has been a nanny for 18 years and when she attended one of our paediatric first aid courses last month in central London she told us that it was the 6th time she had been on a course. The other nannies in the group were surprised “why would you need to keep doing this?” they asked.

 Interesting question – surely by now she would be fully knowledgeable about first aid? What more could she learn? The thing about first aid is that like anything we do – if we don’t use it – we lose it.  Luckily many of us do not need to call on our first aid skills very often. Certainly few of us will ever need to resuscitate someone. And this is why it is so important to regularly refresh your first aid knowledge. To use Baden Powell’s slogan – we need to be prepared. It’s the just in case scenario.  And particularly if you are a nanny or au pair as you have a terrific responsibility.

Interestingly you may also be surprised to know that GP’s and Health Professionals are required to update their resuscitation training every year.  Surely a doctor would know what to do?  But just like you they rarely have to administer first aid or to perform resuscitation –  but should there ever be an emergency they need to be fully cognisant with what to do.

Indeed, this happened just a few years ago in one of dental practices that we work with.  Luckily the surgery had recently updated their annual CPR training with us and the protocols for emergencies were fresh in their minds.

 Their receptionist arrived in the surgery, said she felt unwell and then proceeded to have a massive heart attack.  Said dentist Dr Hagen, “We now intend to increase the frequency of our training as we feel we can never be too ready. If we had not been up to date with our CPR training and practised the protocol the outcome may have been very different. The first few minutes are crucial and I believe with the excellent training we receive from Safe and Sound we were able to assess the situation and make decisions as a team to start successful CPR and calling for emergency backup.”

The receptionist Heather made a full recovery and still works as a receptionist at the practice.

First aid is not rocket science; pretty much everyone can learn how to do it and we know it saves lives.  And it is not just the life and death situations where first aid comes into play, it can also stop a minor accident turning into a major one.

Accident and Emergency doctors have told us that “if parents and child carers know what to do when a child suffers a burns or scalds, we would have far less need for skin grafts and plastic surgery.” 

So Louise is absolutely right to continually update her first aid and although certificates are valid for 3 years, the guidelines now strongly recommend that CPR skills are refreshed every 12 months. 

For more information about all of our first aid courses go to: