Should children be taught CPR in Schools?

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cpr in schools master 240The idea of teaching school children cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and basic life-saving first aid skills in school is not a new concept.

 

In fact some countries they have been teaching school children these skills for many years and have embraced its importance by incorporating it into the school curriculum.

Survival rates have improved

Statistics show that these countries are now benefiting from this with a marked increase in successful resuscitation skills and survival rates.

 

The out of hospital cardiac arrest consensus in England (2014), showed that the emergency medical services attempted to resuscitate approximately 28,000 cases of out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in England, with an average overall survival rate of 8.6% (hospital to discharge). In comparison to this Norway, where they have been teaching school children CPR and have a proactive approach to early defibrillation, have a average hospital to discharge rate of 25%. See the consensus paper in our publications listings here >>

 

Following a statement “Kids Save Lives” published Elsevier 2015; the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsed the concept of training school children in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The statement stated that:

 

1) In Europe and the US at least 700,000 people die each year following OHCA this is 2000 deaths every day.


2) Bystander CPR is delivered in less than 1 in 5 out of hospital cardiac arrests. Increasing this rate will save 200,000 additional lives in Europe and US each year and far more than this worldwide.

 

It concluded that providing resuscitation training in schools has measurable effects, it can increase the lay bystander resuscitation rate and the survival rate significantly. They suggest the optimal age to start teaching cardiac compressions is around 12 years with as little as two hours training per year.

 

The emphasis is that lay people cannot do anything wrong – the only wrong thing would be to do nothing.

How do we change our archaic approach to OHCA?

It's clear that we need to improve our approach to OHCA through education and training. Although some schools have introduced CPR training, they are a minority and will remain so until it becomes a mandatory part of the school curriculum. Teaching staff look after our children for several hours every day, yet it is only necessary for the school to have a nominated first aider or nurse available. Where are they at the time of a life critical emergency?


I believe that all teaching staff should hold a current paediatric first aid qualification and everyone should lobby their local MP and schools to introduce suitable levels of CPR training for all school children so that thousands of people may be given a much greater chance of survival following OHCA.

 

Please get in touch if you would like to know more or get involved.

 
You might also like our A-Z of fist aid signs, symptoms and treatments. Find both CPR and Defibrillation there, along with many more useful topics.

 
First Response. Training for life. Training to save a life.

Last modified on Friday, 11 October 2019
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Tim Hart

Tim Hart IQA AET - Director

Emergency Ambulance Practitioner RRV/CIEH Professional Trainer/Assessors A1/FAETC Stage 1/CTLLS/Safe People Handling Instructor (RoSPA)
Great Western Ambulance NHS Trust. Affiliate Member of the Society for Education and Training.

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