Skills for life: First aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation in schools
Objective: This review considers initiatives in various countries to include mandatory first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training in schools, key educational considerations and the supporting empirical evidence, in particular the relevance of first aid and CPR training to broader educational goals of student capability, resilience and self-efficacy. Method: Policy documents and reports from international first aid service providers (e.g. British Red Cross) were identified from websites while a parallel search of key bibliographical databases provided relevant papers on teaching first aid and CPR to school children in a range of countries. Results: Systematic reviews all show evidence to support the provision of first aid and CPR training courses and programmes in schools, with interventions effective in improving first aid knowledge and skills both post-training and in some studies up to 12 months afterwards. Important factors include ensuring the content is relevant and practical for the target group and offering an opportunity for young people to explore and discuss helping behaviour in emergency situations. Conclusion: Age-appropriate first aid and CPR instruction should be integrated into the school curriculum beginning in the primary years and developed/refreshed annually. Topics covered should include calling for help, bleeding, choking, burns, unconsciousness and resuscitation – all within the broader context of being confident and willing to help others. With the right training and support, schoolteachers can effectively deliver first aid instruction to their students. Future research should concentrate on gaps in evidence-based practice, especially measurements to demonstrate the effectiveness of first aid training, in order to advance the case for mandatory first aid education in schools.
Health Education Journal