Abstract

The usefulness of basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training in school systems has been questioned, considering that young students may not have the physical or cognitive skills required to perform complex tasks correctly. In the study conducted by Fleishhackl and coworkers, students as young as 9 years were able to successfully and effectively learn basic CPR skills, including automated external defibrillator deployment, correct recovery position, and emergency calling. As in adults, physical strength may limit the depth of chest compressions and ventilation volumes given by younger individuals with low body mass index; however, skill retention is good. Training all persons across an entire community in CPR may have a logarithmic improvement in survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest because bystanders, usually family members, are more likely to know CPR and can perform it immediately, when it is physiologically most effective. Training captured audiences of trainees, such as the entire work-force of the community or the local school system, are excellent mechanisms to help achieve that goal. In addition to better retention with new half hour training kits, a multiplier effect can be achieved through school children. In addition, early training not only sets the stage for subsequent training and better retention, but it also reinforces the concept of a social obligation to help others.