“Supplemental Safety Training for Parents on the Go”
I don’t feel qualified at all to write this review – I have absolutely zero medical background, am squeamish at the sight of blood, and tend to panic in the event of real emergencies. All of which means that I am just the person to do this review.
At three months of age, my daughter had to go undergo an MRI and it is required that babies of that age be sedated in order to have the procedure. Since she had recovered from the anesthesia so well, the doctors had let her go a little bit before the recommended 5 hour observation period. They sent me away with the suggestion that we keep a close eye on her for the remainder of the day. I was pulling out of the hospital’s parking garage when the realization hit me that if something did happen, I was sorely prepared to handle it. And it was then that I began to worry about how fragile babies really can be and how scary it is to be the adult in charge.
Having only taken CPR and first aid as a teenager and then having purged most of the information along with advanced Calculus after I hit my twenties, I definitely was due for a first aid refresher course. I had meant to do a supplemental class during my pregnancy, but then had a hard enough time fitting in the Lamaze and parenting classes I had already signed up for, what with requiring 14 hours of sleep and 10 hours of elevated legs each day. Then, I had planned on taking a course when baby was first born, and now she’s 10 months old. So, I was really happy to review the SafetyMate and get myself motivated to update my first aid skills.
Very rarely does something hit the market that is unlike anything I have ever seen before, as I am constantly on the lookout for new products and gadgets that make life with children easier, so I was thrilled to see a new product come out that definitely does not fit into any of the traditional baby item categories. The SafetyMate is a compact and portable device that talks you through 8 main first aid categories and does so in two languages (English and Spanish). The device is much simpler and easy to understand than any other method of first aid that I have ever seen, which means just about anyone can use it. When you flip the top open, a voice immediately begins speaking, directing you to choose one of the following categories:
RCP, No Reacciona
Falls, Bone Injury
Caidas, Lesíones en los Huesos
Poison, Bites, Stings
Intoxicaciones, Mordidas, Picaduras
After choosing a category, the SafetyMate continues to give direction on that specific topic, occasionally asking yes or no questions that you respond to by pressing the large “yes” or “no” buttons on the bottom of the unit. This allows you to tailor the instruction to fit your specific circumstance and conditions to get the best first aid direction. Equipped with 30+ first aid instructions for common injuries and issues, the SafetyMate is perfect for new parents, child care providers, grandparents and more.
While waiting for hubby to run errands, baby and I had fun pressing each of the categories and responding differently to the yes or no questions. Baby liked the flashing lights and the fact that the unit is very reminiscent of a remote control which, incidentally, she also adores. Not one to be won over by flashing lights alone, I loved seeing how the instructions varied based on the age of the victim and how circumstances that I would have never thought would be a factor play such a large role in the method of first aid. Playing with the unit for a while and choosing from the different categories, I couldn’t help but think of the old Choose Your Own Adventure books from when I was young. I used to adore those and would devour any and all that I could find. Not only did I love reading them through once, I liked to go back and reread them, choosing different paths each time so I could try out every possible outcome. The SafetyMate reminds me of that in the way that you get wildly different first aid techniques by answering one question differently, which makes it a fun and educational way to amuse yourself while someone takes forever at the bank.
To see an online product demonstration, go to:
Although I was extremely excited about the SafetyMate as a tool to reinforce first aid techniques, the product was met with some uncertainty as I began to discuss it with other parents and colleagues. As is often the case with new items that are so cutting edge that there really isn’t a built-in market, I ran into a few skeptics that I converted along the way. So, instead of merely doing my normal review process, I am going to address the most common questions and concerns that were voiced about the product and my argument for the SafetyMate and why I think eventually SafetyMates will be on every registry. Continued.....
Although I was extremely excited about the SafetyMate as a tool to reinforce first aid techniques, the product was met with some uncertainty as I began to discuss it with other parents and colleagues. As is often the case with new items that are so cutting edge that there really isn’t a built-in market, I ran into a few skeptics that I converted along the way. So, instead of merely doing my normal review process, I am going to address the most common questions and concerns that were voiced about the product and my argument for the SafetyMate and why I think eventually SafetyMates will be on every registry.
In this day of technology and readily available information, why wouldn’t I just research supplemental lifesaving techniques online or on video? Because video and visual methods are bulky, stationary, and the biggest issue for me – They are not interactive. If that’s not bad enough, I found the visual methods tended to be overly redundant. I checked out a few instructional first aid demos that were mainly a visual focus to compare how easy I felt it was to absorb any of the information. The main problems I saw with them were that, although it was nice at time to get a visual, I found it annoying to have to stop the recording to try out the methods they were teaching. I think we can all agree that it is nearly impossible to practice first aid and fully watch a video at the same time, which means that unless you stop it after each instruction to practice, you really aren’t getting much from the lesson.
Another huge drawback is that the pre made recordings aren’t customizable. Say you want to know what to do if an infant is choking. Using a prerecorded lesson, you would have to fast forward or perform a menu search to find the specific instruction for the proper technique in order to find the information you’re looking for and then hope they mention infant techniques somewhere in the lesson. Not only is that a huge inconvenience, it is just not practical as you legitimately could not use it as a guide in the event of an actual emergency. What I really liked about the SafetyMate is the fact that it is an interactive teaching tool that is purely auditory, leaving you to focus on performing the techniques that are unique to your specific situation.
When would I use the Safety Mate? The argument is that emergency services such as 911 would talk you through any life threatening emergency over the phone and it would be tailored to your specific emergency. And you are correct, emergency services should handle any life threatening emergencies, as I go into detail about later. But recently there have been hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and other disasters that have rendered emergency services useless for hours or even days. Imagine you are in that position, and now imagine you have an auditory device that could talk you through a selection of common safety issues. What would the SafetyMate be worth then? And, in a more likely scenario, let’s say you are camping, hiking or traveling and are not near phone services or don’t speak the language. I would feel safer having the SafetyMate and I think most parents would agree. Until cell phone reception is available everywhere and without fail, and batteries never run out when you least expect it, it’s much better to have something you can rely on as a backup in the event of an emergency.
I am worried people will use the SafetyMate to practice first aid techniques they are not trained for or are better left to the professionals. The SafetyMate is made for people with common sense, those who know that 911 is the method of choice when dealing with lifesaving devices and emergencies. And, even if the SafetyMate falls into the wrong hands and common sense is lacking, every time you open the SafetyMate case, the first thing you hear is “If this is an actual emergency, call 911 or your emergency response number immediately”. And you should.
In talking to the many people that I did for this review, it seems to me that most people think of first aid as synonymous with CPR, which is probably because a good deal of what I learned in my prior first aid classes was just that. I don’t remember learning about burns, seizures, poisonings or allergic reactions at all. Whether that is because the other topics were glossed over or because performing mouth-to-mouth on a dummy really makes an impression on a person, I don’t know. What I do know is that there is a host of other first aid issues that have nothing to do with CPR, and the SafetyMate is perfect for helping you figure out when to call in the professionals.
Shouldn’t you know first aid already? The reality is that most people could use a refresher course in first aid. Oftentimes you realize that potentially scary fact when a stressful situation occurs unexpectedly and you forget the finer points. And, as a new parent, I am constantly realizing that what constitutes an emergency for adults is very different than what is cause for concern when dealing with infants and toddlers, and I love that SafetyMate can help me distinguish between them.
What I’m Raving About:
• Immediate, interactive emergency information when you need it – all in the palm of your hand.
• Portable and convenient, light enough to take hiking and biking
• Rugged design is perfect for indoor and outdoor conditions
• 30+ first aid issues addressed
• Perfect for infants, children and adults
• Audible and visual low battery warning means that you are never surprised by a dead unit. Rechargeable battery options also available.
• First aid is constantly changing and evolving and I am wondering how SafetyMate will keep up with new information and training practices. As a new company, I’m hoping that SafetyMate has a plan for updating their devices and providing the most up-to-date training available.
Correction: SafetyMate contacted me to let me know they already thought of this as well. Each unit comes shipped with a removable SD card that contains all the critical information, which means that you won't get stuck with outdated first aid information and therefore an obsolete unit as techniques change over time. Brilliant!
In the interest of getting a fresh perspective on the device, I showed the SafetyMate to some recently certified babysitters who had to undergo first aid training as part of their certification. Every babysitter I showed the SafetyMate to was really excited about it and thought it was a great product and fun to play with. The comment I got the most was that they especially liked the SafetyMate CPR mode that includes automated beeping that keeps time for CPR and talks you through each step. I have to admit that even with my former training, I hadn’t realized how quickly CPR counts are, and probably would have been doing CPR incorrectly had I ever been faced with a situation in which I was the adult in charge. That’s enough for me to keep the SafetyMate close at all times.
Price: $60 for the basic unit, and battery recharging kits are available for $40
Looks: Small, portable and after that it doesn’t really matter.
Overall: In times of emergency, a little voice reminding you what to do is priceless.
Disclaimer: As I’m sure you can imagine, the idea of learning certain first aid techniques solely based on an electronic means is frightening to me. I am going to stress here that when dealing with or providing any sort of medical intervention, the SafetyMate is to be considered “supplemental training” - as in a refresher course on advanced techniques already learned and not a substitute for actual training.