Why your grade schooler should learn CPR

October 02, 2017 | by Siva Krishnan, MD

Could your fourth or fifth grader save someone’s life?


In Illinois, kids are now required to learn CPR and how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator) before they graduate from high school.

The American Heart Association thinks kids could start learning even before high school, as young as 9 years old.

While a young child likely doesn’t have the strength to deliver adequate compressions, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t learn the concept. Kids who learn CPR at age 10 or 11 are better at it when they’re taught again in high school.

Hands-Only CPR doesn’t involve mouth-to-mouth, you just have to learn the right way to do the compressions.

The Hands-Only CPR method works. Harry Bell of Elmhurst helped save his father’s life when his dad collapsed and he immediately began Hands-Only CPR he had learned in high school.

Arianna Castillo, another high school student, saved the life of a man who collapsed at her softball practice by performing Hands-Only CPR she learned at school.

The benefit of having kids learn the technique is obvious — more potential lifesavers out in the community (at the mall, at the beach, at fast food restaurants and coffee shops).

And a tween who is getting ready to start babysitting should know infant and child CPR and other first aid techniques.

Even more importantly than learning CPR, a child should be taught when and how to call 911. Starting as young as 5 or 6, teach kids what a real emergency looks like and that they should call 911 for help before doing anything else.

Parents magazine provides a great way to instruct your kiddos on 911 rules, and when to do it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers a good list of reasons to immediately call for emergency help, as well as medical conditions that don’t necessarily need an emergency response.

Run through the list with your children so they understand what constitutes a true emergency. Make sure they know their home address and can tell a dispatcher their first and last name.

Do you know CPR? If not, now is the perfect time to get trained. Make it a family event!

The Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare Community Training Center is one of the largest training centers in the Chicago area. Sign up for a CPR or First Aid class.

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