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Young Life Savers-Why We Need More of Them


Programs like the Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region provide a safe, healthy and interactive learning environment for kids. In a place like that, children have a remarkable capacity to retain and use the information they’ve learned.

But, of all the topics we address with youth, whether at the Club or in the classroom, the importance of life saving skills for often gets overlooked. Yet, kids can learn, retain, and use these kinds of skills very well; even as well as adults.

For the last 22 years, I have taught elementary, middle, and high school students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, the disadvantages of bullying, and the advantages making good choices. I’ve taught many of those same youth both cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid. I’ve watched them enthusiastically gain life saving knowledge. This is important because learning CPR empowers children and teens to make good choices when it comes to emergency situations.

In fact, several states require high school students to learn CPR before graduating. This means that those states have a large safety net of skilled adults and children who can make a difference in emergency situations.

It’s not often that children will find themselves performing the skills that they’ve been taught, however, being equipped to handle an emergency situation, if it occurs, is vital.

To illustrate, here’s a remarkable incident that occurred with a CRP educated eighth-grader, in San Diego County:

It was only two weeks after an eighth-grade girl learned CPR that she found her grandmother unconscious upon arriving home after school. She determined that her grandmother was not breathing and had no pulse, so she relocated her grandmother from the couch to the floor, dialed 911, and performed CPR until the paramedics arrived and took over. The story had a happy ending; that young lady still has her grandmother around because of her knowledge of life saving skills.

All around the country, and all around the world the media report on situations just like this. Children and teens are acting to save a family member, or even a stranger, based on what they have been taught. Unfortunately, kids may do absolutely nothing, or the wrong thing, under the same circumstances if they lack knowledge of CPR skills. They may not even recognize when someone is in need of medical attention and may fail to call 911 for help.

CPR knowledge should not be limited to adults, but should be introduced to children starting in their elementary school years. With the right training, the actions of children and teens can truly save lives.
If you want to get a conversation about CPR skills started with your kids, here are three articles to use as a resource:

1. Teen Uses CPR Skills To Save Her Sister’s Life

2. How to Help Someone Who’s Choking

3. How “Stayin’ Alive” Can Help You Perform CPR

About the Author

Ennis C. Jackson is an expert columnist at CPR Headquarters. He’s an Advance Life Support caregiver providing emergency care, training, motivating and educating on a national level for over 35 years with strong concentration and enormous success in business consultation, motivational and safety speaking, minor project management and customer service management. Ennis has been a Supervisor and Associate Supervisor in California, Okinawa Japan, and S. Korea with experience in leading teams and managing large groups of personnel.