NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Teddy bears help children as young as three learn first aid skills

Child learning first aid
Image caption The youngsters are finding fun in learning about first aid

Children as young as three are being taught first aid using teddy bears in special training sessions.

The Dinky Doctors programme provides training for youngsters to help prepare them for possible emergency situations.

Thousands of the keen young local learners have already "graduated" from the Aberdeenshire-based Dinky Doctor school.

Now a Scotland-wide tour is planned for 2020 due to the interest the scheme has generated.

Image caption The young students learn CPR skills

Dinky Doctors was set up in Ellon by first aid trainers Cheryl Jones and Mitch Watt.

They train children as young as three - the argument being you are never too young to start - and up to the age of 12.

With the help of the sometimes scatty "Dr Potty", the children learn about things such as CPR, and listening for heartbeats.

Image caption "Dr Potty" helps the children learn

During a session in Peterhead, Cheryl explained: "It's something that everybody should know.

"So we really wanted to find a way to get it into the schools and children.

"But we decided we'd go down a bit more of a fun route and come up with some characters and make it a bit more interesting."

Image caption The children are keen to ask and answer questions

In 2019, Dinky Doctors have also been finalists in two categories of the Scottish First Aid Awards, and held a Teddy Hospital in a shopping centre in Aberdeen.

A young girl taking part in this week's Peterhead session said: "You put your ear to their mouth to hear their breathing."

'They are sponges'

And one young boy said of his experience: "My teddy had a sore leg. I put a bandage on it."

Cheryl added: "It's way more important for children to start it young. The kids just love it, they just thrive on it, they are sponges.

"They always seem to remember it. They don't find it intimidating or scary.

"We've had people get in touch to say their child has given first aid, and how much information their child could give them."

A number of charities, including the British Red Cross, have been campaigning for first aid classes to be mandatory in schools for more than a decade.

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