At what age should children be taught Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation?
Reliable sources including The American Heart Association and The Lancet report there are over 2,000 deaths per day due to out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in the USA and Europe.
In the event of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest the chances of the victim surviving is doubled or even tripled if effective Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is performed immediately.
But at what aged should children be taught CPR?
One study by ABC news found almost 90% of 6 - 9 year olds were able to correctly administer CPR after hands on training however they did not have the physical strength to perform effective CPR on an adult.
In my experience it is quite easy for children to learn CPR and indeed the European Resuscitation Council does recommend it. The former Expired Air Resuscitation Certificate had been available to children from the age of 10, prior to it being replaced by CPR as standard practice.
EAR of course was 'mouth to mouth' breathing with no chest compressions.
In European children, the study found, “the optimal age to start teaching cardiac compressions is 12 years”
Obviously the age of the learner is not as much a factor as their physical size, strength and weight.
I am not aware of studies comparing other ethic groups for example Asian children versus South Sea Islander children.
There is however a great benefit in teaching younger children what to do in an emergency however the focus should not be on physically performing chest compressions but moreover:
· How to recognise an emergency
· How and who to call for help
· Position an unconscious victim
· What to not do in an emergency