First Aid in Schools
First aid in schools is now mandatory and is part of the ‘Health Education’ curriculum for secondary schools for students 12+ age groups. Even in primary schools, they should be learning CPR and basic first aid.
But do schools have the necessary resources to teach the first aid training though? that is the question.
It is just not a teacher teaching the subject but the pupils practicing their first aid skills. Many schools that we talk to don’t have the resources to teach this due to school budgets.
Learning first aid is a life skill and even in school settings, these skills might come in handy if a pupil had a serious cardiac arrest for instance. If this was to happen then bystander CPR given immediately will give that pupil the best outcome.
This is the scary bit
It’s scary to think that an average of 270 schoolchildren die at school each year. That’s a scary statistic because firstly we do not expect them to die so young and secondly they die of a serious cardiac arrest which we don’t expect them to either.
There is a thought this might be due to Commotio Cordis. This is when there is a sudden blow to the chest and this may come from a cricket ball, hockey ball, or even a football. A sudden blow to the chest can disrupt the heart rhythm and can result in serious cardiac arrest.
How do we lift the odds for survival?
If a pupil suffers a serious cardiac arrest their best chance of survival is ‘bystander CPR which is given immediately. But sadly this does not always happen due to the person not having the skills to perform CPR or they lack the confidence to do so.
A staggering statistic is that 90 – 95% of those will die without immediate action from someone administering bystander CPR.
Children who have a serious cardiac arrest while at school have a 7% chance of survival if no CPR is given but increases to 74% if CPR is given and a defibrillator is used within the first 3 minutes of someone having a cardiac arrest.
Sadly people think that children cannot have serious cardiac arrest but statistics show otherwise.
Some say using a defibrillator is hard to use, but they are not. Turn them on and follow the machine prompts and do what it tells you. They are very easy to use and can make such a difference to someone having a bad day.
So teaching first aid skills to children is a priority so in the case of a first aid emergency, we can raise the odds of survival.
How do we compare with Europe
Denmark started a concerted effort in 2005 to improve CPR education and 18 years later they have a remarkable cardiac arrest survival rate. Other Scandinavian countries are not far behind either.
- CPR and first aid skills are taught to all children from primary school age upwards.
- They have more community-based first-aid training courses that are open to anyone to attend.
- CPR skills are a mandatory part of obtaining a driving licence.
Meanwhile back in the UK, it’s a different picture of course and if you are unlucky to succumb to a serious cardiac arrest out in the community then your survival rate is very low at best.
But surprisingly the government has made a landmark decision in making first aid training mandatory and is now part of the curriculum in schools.
We have found Children want to learn First Aid
We have found that children of all ages like to have a go with our training manikins at events we go to. They can see it is a life skill that might come in handy at some point. Some of them have learned first aid through various clubs such as the scouts, cubs, guides, and brownies, and some have gone on to be cadets with St John and St Andrew.
So our youngsters do want to learn. So hopefully now it has been made mandatory that many will learn these skills and will have the confidence to act if and when the need arises.