In an online Oakville Mommies’ chat, a mom expressed profound disappointment that no bystander had stopped to help her 15year-old son. He had suffered injuries after falling off his skateboard. His chin was bleeding heavily, he had broken his elbow and he was trying to wave down cars on a major street in Oakville, but no one stopped to help. The boy eventually got help from a couple of pedestrians and he called his mom who picked him up and took him to hospital.
The unwillingness of people to help a fellow human being is known as the “bystander effect” and this phenomenon is discussed in Red Cross First Aid classes. The expectation is that by discussing this topic, first aid students will be able to overcome this unwillingness to help when faced with a real life first aid situation. According to the Red Cross, the bystander effect usually occurs when there are a lot of people around because people tend to think that someone else will help instead. If no one steps up, then there is no reason to stop to help either.
In fact, the more people who are present in a first aid emergency, the less likely an individual is to take action and help, says Red Cross blogger Laura Oakley. As a result, people who need help don’t get it and that can have serious consequences.
The good news is that this mom’s post brings attention to the bystander effect. Awareness will increase the likelihood that people will take action the next time they are in a situation where they are the bystander.
In the case of this Oakville Mommies’ chat, there was an overwhelming number of responses to the post. Most people expressed sadness for the mom and her son, and many stated that they would have stopped if they had been there. Some shared their own first aid stories where bystanders had helped their loved ones or where they had stopped to help others.
It is clear from the many responses that there are compassionate and caring, good samaritans and that humanity is strong in Oakville.
If you read and share this blog, you’re already more likely to help and encourage others too.