Sustainable Development Goals


Student volunteers train London parents in basic first aid

UCL students are training parents and carers in life-saving first aid skills to prevent infant deaths.

An image of a plastic baby having CPR

15 December 2020

“Infant and child deaths could be prevented if more parents and carers had basic life-saving skills,” says Rumitha Rubaratnam (UCL Medical School 4), one of the students volunteering with Save a Baby’s Life.

Since 2011, groups of students from a variety of UCL departments have worked in conjunction with the Royal Life Saving Society, which trains the volunteers.

“Our aim is to make infant and child life-saving just as well-known as adult first aid.”

The students learn life-saving skills, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and what to do if a child is drowning or choking. Once qualified, they then to teach these skills to parents and carers at nurseries, community centres and children’s centres across London.

“We find that too many parents and carers don’t have the knowledge or skills to perform basic life-saving techniques – or they don’t have the confidence to use them,” adds Rumitha. ”Our aim is to make infant and child life-saving just as well-known as adult first aid.”

The project had almost 20 volunteers in 2019/20, who ran five well-attended sessions. The number of volunteers had grown to almost 60 in 2020/21.

“Unfortunately, we‘ve had to put our activities on hold this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but we’ll be starting it up again when it is safe to do so, and exploring switching to online events in the meantime,” explains Anojah Sivarajah (UCL Medical School 4), another of the volunteers.

Save a Baby’s Life is one of the many initiatives supported by the Students’ Union UCL Volunteering Service, which connects students with community volunteering opportunities across London.