Saturday, April 12, 2014

Brownie: First Aid Badge

Brownie 1st Aid Badge

As a nurse, I am eager to introduce my Girl Scouts to First Aid.  However, I always seem to think I can cram 8 hours of information into an hour and half meeting.  Even though I make a strong effort to present the information in clear and concise terms that is age appropriate, it never fails we linger on a topic and I never finish teaching all the points I would like to make.  But I have learned from my over-zealous nature to include nice hand-outs so the girls can read and refer to the information at home.  

I used a Boy Scout Power Point presentation for reference on the material I wanted to present.  I figure why re-invent the wheel.  This Cub Master from San Antonio, TX spent a lot of time identifying some key first aid points and collected some great visuals.  Here is the link for his Power Point file:  CLICK HERE

Next I created small booklets (Cheat Sheets) for the girls using 4x6 index cards, cut in half.  I simply adjusted my margins to 4x6in. in pages (or word) and printed the material, using front and back. It's helpful if you place a light grey line in the center so you know where to cut the  cards.

Then I lined all the index cards on contact paper and sealed another piece of contact paper to the backside to make the cards somewhat water-proof and durable. (FYI: This was a bit time consuming)
I punched holes in each card and held them together using a pop open key ring called a binder ring.  The girls assembled the cards together in a booklet fashion at the meeting.

We began our discussion by defining what First Aid is and how to respond, Cool, Calm and Collected. These types of discussions are always fueled by stories and with 26 girls it is sometimes difficult to get past my opening topic.  Next we discussed choking and I created a large foam board diagram to depict the purpose of the epiglottis.  The girls each got several m&m's to slide down the esophagus and watch the epiglottis close protecting the airway.  I think this visual really helped them to picture why we don't typically choke on food.  The girls used their fingers to hold onto the m&m and simply moved it along the "track" of the esophagus and I stood to the side and lifted the epiglottis flap to show how the epiglottis protects the airway. I used a neon piece of paper to cut an "oval" to represent the epiglottis and then adhered the oval epiglottis using a brass fastener so I could move the flap up and down. 

I described the Heimlich Maneuver and the girls were asked to pinpoint the location just above the belly button to place their fist.  We mimicked the "In and UP" action to dislodge a foreign object and "reproduce" a cough in a victim.  Then we identified the location of a friend standing behind them and creating a fist with your dominant hand and wrapping your other hand around the fist.  I was very strict that the girls could not "practice" on their friends because mimicking the "In & Up" motion can hurt.  We discussed how to dislodge an item if you were home alone or with a friend.  I did not cover a baby choking because I felt this might be too difficult of a concept for the girls at their age.  

In a short discussion about shock and blood loss we talked about finding a pulse.  The girls were asked to locate a pulse in their neck and near the wrist.  To do this in the wrist, we had the girls place their LEFT palm up and stick their thumb up.  Then take their index and middle fingers on the right hand and slide their fingers down the thumb to rest on their pulse just below their wrist bone.  For some girls this was easy for them and for others we had to locate their pulse for them.  It is important when doing this exercise that you stress that the girls palpate for the pulse gently, if you push down too hard with your fingers, you will cut off the vein and the pulse.  Once the pulse was identified at their wrist every girl was given a small heart tattoo using a Sharpie marker to mark their pulse location.  I explained to the girls that every time they feel their pulse this is their heart contracting and pushing blood throughout their body.  A weak pulse means a person may be dehydrated and have less blood volume in their body or could mean they have experienced blood loss.  Finally the girls were asked to count their pulse for 30 seconds, we multiplied this number times 2 to get their heart rate for a minute.  Then we did jumping jacks for a minute and took our pulse again.  The girls were amazed how the heart quickens to rush blood to your body parts when you work out.  I also explained how your pulse quickens when you are in a "Fight or Flight" situation like when administering First Aid.  When you are scared your body's natural reaction is to increase your heart rate.

Finally I purchased 8 yards of fabric and cut the fabric into long 12 x 45in strips to create Cravat Slings. I explained to the girls if you ever think someone's hand, arm or wrist is broken, the best first aid response is to immobilize the limb.  So we created Cravat Slings on one another.  This was a simple exercise, but the girls loved walking out to their parent's car with the slings.

I would have loved to talk about insect bites, burns etc, but time got away from us.  This can be covered in future badges and would make a great camp out activity.

If you are interested in using my personal meeting notes or "1st Aid Cheat Sheets" already set to 4x6 margins in pdf format please  CLICK HERE


  1. When you say you slid some m&ms down the epiglottis and watched it close, what did you use for that? I'm sure that wasn't possible on the foam board. Sounded like a great idea!

  2. GirlScoutLeaderx2May 23, 2014 at 6:29 AM

    The girls used their fingers to hold onto the m&m and simply moved it along the "track" of the esophagus and stood to the side and lifted the epiglottis flap to show how the epiglottis protects the airway. I used a neon piece of paper to cut an "oval" to represent the epiglottis and then adhered the oval epiglottis using a brass fastener so I could move the flap up and down.

  3. Thank you for such great information and resources. I will definitely be using it this year while we work on our First Aid Badge.

  4. I just tried to click on the 1st Aid cheat sheets and they aren't available--can you re-post them please? Or can I email you for them? I love all of your ideas. Thanks for your help!!

  5. The 1st aid cheat sheet would be awesome. Can it be reposted? I could really use it for next scout meeting.

  6. I have reposted... sorry it was removed somehow?

  7. I am really excited for this badge now, was really nervous before bit this will definitely help! Thanks love your blog!

  8. I just tried to link to the power point slides and it said the site was removed by administrator. Can you help me access the powerpoint presentation you referenced? thank you

  9. I just tried to access the powerpoint slides you referenced but the site said it had been removed by the administrator. Is there another way you can help me access the slides? Thank you

    1. I have posted a new link above in the blog that should allow you access to the notes. Please let me know if you are unable to get access to the notes!