Teaching children basic life support knowledge can start as early as four years old, according to a new scientific statement from the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR), the American Heart Association and the European Resuscitation Council.
The group said that building the skills for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can start at age four — and be developed over time through routine training.
By the time children have reached 10 years old, they then may be able to perform effective chest compressions on manikins, said the statement published in Circulation, the American Heart Association’s journal.
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Sasson, an emergency physician based in the Denver area who serves as vice president for science and innovation at the American Heart Association, said all family members should know what to do in the event of a cardiac arrest (when the heart stops beating) — since it occurs most often outside a hospital setting.
‘Multiply’ their training
The report authors reviewed over 100 research articles about training students in CPR.
“Training students has become a key element to increase the number of people ready to perform CPR when cardiac arrest occurs outside a hospital, and potentially increase rates of CPR and cardiac arrest survival globally,” Dr. Bernd W. Böttiger, chair of the statement-writing group and head of the Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine at the University Hospital of Cologne in Cologne, Germany, said in a news release.
The authors recommended a combination of theoretical and practical training in schools and using social media tools to help share lifesaving skills.
“The sooner we can encourage kids to know what to do in emergencies, the better.”
That way, kids can feel more comfortable and not be fearful of reacting.
Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin speaks in front of University of Cincinnati Medical Center staff during the NFL Honors award show ahead of the Super Bowl 57 football game on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, in Phoenix. Hamlin, who made a full recovery after being revived following a cardiac arrest on the field during a game at Cincinnati on Jan. 2, was as the 2023 George Halas Award winner on Monday, May 15, 2023. (David J. Phillip/AP Photo/File)
Despite their young age, she said even a 4-year-old could be helpful in an emergency.
“The sooner we can encourage kids to know what to do in emergencies, the better,” she said.
She added, “The 4-year-old can at least talk to someone on the phone who would then be able to instruct the child on what to do until emergency services arrive.”
Hoepper and some of her former colleagues at Molloy University in Rockville Center, New York, partnered with local schools and organizations such as the Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts to help educate the community on the American Heart Association’s “Hands On Only” CPR training through formal classes and pop-up tent events.
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McWilliams and her nursing students recently taught CPR to the LIU community.
She said, “Knowledge is power. Educating people of all ages, children to adults, will have a positive ripple effect. This lesson can literally save lives.”