First Aid in Schools

First Aid in Schools

First aid in schools is now mandatory and included in the ‘Health Education’ curriculum for secondary school students aged 12 and up. Even in primary schools, students should learn CPR and basic first aid.

The question is, do schools have the resources to provide first aid training?

Many schools we speak with do not have the funding to teach first aid, despite the fact that first aid is a life skill that can be useful even in school settings, such as if a student suffers a serious cardiac arrest, in which case bystander CPR administered immediately will provide the best outcome.

If this were the case, pupils would practice their first aid skills instead of having a teacher teach them.

This is the scary bit

The fact that 270 school-age children die on average each year is a concerning figure. This is due to the fact that we do not expect them to die at such a young age, and we also do not expect them to die as a result of a significant cardiac arrest.

A probable explanation is commotio cordis, which is characterised as a quick strike to the chest (for example, from a football, hockey ball, or cricket ball) that disrupts the heart’s natural rhythm and causes a catastrophic cardiac arrest.

How do we lift the odds for survival?

The best chance of survival for a student experiencing a major cardiac arrest is “bystander CPR,” which must be carried out immediately. Unfortunately, this does not always happen since the person performing CPR lacks the appropriate expertise or confidence, and an alarming statistic shows that 90–95% of people who do not receive prompt treatment from someone practicing bystander CPR will die.

Teaching children first aid skills is vital because it allows us to save more lives if there is an emergency. Children who suffer a major cardiac arrest while at school have a 7% chance of survival if no CPR is administered, but that figure rises to 74% if CPR is administered and an automated external defibrillator (AED) is used during the first three minutes of someone experiencing a cardiac arrest.

Sadly, some people feel that a youngster cannot have a serious cardiac arrest, yet facts show otherwise.

How do we compare with Europe

Denmark began a concerted effort to improve CPR education in 2005, and 18 years later, the country has an impressive cardiac arrest survival rate. Other Scandinavian countries are not far behind, either.

  • All children are taught CPR and first aid beginning in primary school.
  • They also offer more community-based first-aid training courses that anyone can attend.
  • CPR skills are a mandatory part of obtaining a driving licence.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, the situation is rather different, and if you are unfortunate enough to suffer a major cardiac arrest in the community, your chances of survival are slim at best.

Surprisingly, the government has made a groundbreaking decision by making first aid training mandatory, and it is now part of the school curriculum.

We have found Children want to learn First Aid

Children of all ages have expressed an interest in using our training manikins at events we attend because they perceive it as a life skill that may come in handy someday. Some have gone on to become St. John cadets after learning first aid at local clubs.

Therefore, hopefully, now that it is mandatory, many will acquire these skills and have the confidence to act if the need arises.

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