Zoey, or Zozo to her friends, is set to graduate from playschool this week but along with her numbers and colours, she’s been learning to do CPR, just like her mum and dad.
Mum, Lisa, and Dad, Adrian, are both long term Irish Red Cross volunteers, and actually met while volunteering for the organization, so Zoey was signed up as a member in their local branch in Clane, Co. Kildare, as soon as she became eligible when she turned four.
Speaking of the importance of learning CPR, Lisa stresses that people are never too young – or too old – to learn.
“I think for kids it’s like them learning a language, it becomes second nature to them. Then, if something happens, it’s not like ‘Oh my god, this thing is happening and I don’t know what to do’, they know what’s happening and how to fix it.
“With Zoey, initially she had just thought the mannequin was an ordinary dolly but then she started pressing on it and we decided we might as well show her what to do and she figured it out pretty quickly. We haven’t gone into too much detail about it with her but she knows if someone isn’t breathing how to start the compressions.
“I’ve been a member of the Irish Red Cross for 19 years and I’ve never had to use CPR but I’ve always known how to use it, and I would much rather it be that way than the other way around where I needed to use it and didn’t know how. It’s not something that you’re ever going to turn around and say ‘I wish I didn’t learn that,” Lisa added.
The Coffeys also have an extra special reason for teaching Zoey CPR as they are in the process of fostering a baby and want to be as prepared as possible as a family.
“It was great that she could learn on an infant mannequin because we’re going to be fostering a baby. God forbid something ever happened but, if it did, she could do compressions while I called the ambulance for instance. We’re very proud of her and she loves being part of the Irish Red Cross and talking to her friends about it. Last year, pre-Covid, one of the ambulances visited her school and she was able to show everybody where everything went, she was delighted.”
And as for Zoey herself, she’s eager to let people know that her skills don’t stop at CPR – she’s also an expert in scraped knees.
“If you get a cut on your knee you have to wipe it with a special wipe and then put a big, big plaster on it,” she said.
*The Irish Red Cross has a range of First Aid courses, which are currently running online. To find out more about how you can learn life-saving skills, visit Redcross.ie/firstaid or email firstname.lastname@example.org