How Children Benefit from Having AEDs in Schools

TL;DR: Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) poses a significant risk to children and teens, often occurring without warning. Equipping schools with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and ensuring staff are trained in CPR can drastically improve emergency responses, potentially saving lives. AEDs, which are simple to use, alongside CPR knowledge, can tackle emergencies from choking to severe allergies. States like California have laws requiring CPR certification and AEDs in schools, highlighting the critical role of preparedness and safety measures in creating a secure educational environment.

The conversation about keeping our kids safe at school often centers around preventing accidents or handling emergencies. However, we also need to pay attention to the risk of sudden cardiac arrest. SCA is a leading cause of death in the U.S. that can strike without warning, even in children or teenagers.

Research shows that over 50% of SCA incidents have no cause or explanation, making it hard to predict who might be at risk. It’s a scary thought that some SCA incidents include young children, but there’s a way to protect them, especially in a school environment. Equipping more schools with Automated External Defibrillators can turn the tides in a positive direction during a medical emergency. AEDs are an essential lifeline that keeps a student alive until professional help arrives.

Today, we’ll explore the safety benefits of AEDs in schools and discuss why teachers, coaches, and students must understand how these devices can help save lives.

Common Medical Emergencies in Schools

Kids have endless energy and aren’t known for their impulse control. That means you could face a wide range of medical emergencies on school property. School staff must be ready for anything, from scraped knees to more severe incidents. However, particular situations call for CPR, and those include:

    • Choking: This is a common hazard, especially in younger kids who don’t chew their food properly. Quick, effective action can clear their airways and restore breathing.

    • Severe allergic reactions: They can lead to anaphylaxis, which, in extreme cases, may impair breathing, requiring CPR if breathing stops.

    • Accidental blows to the chest: This can be common during sports training or PE classes. A blow to the chest can disrupt normal heart rhythm or breathing and make the victim lose consciousness.

Schools must ensure the staff are trained in CPR and are up-to-date with the latest CPR techniques and guidelines. This knowledge will allow them to act swiftly and effectively rather than feeling helpless in critical moments. Also, having AEDs on school property and training the staff to use them means the victim doesn’t have to wait for the arrival of an ambulance. Every minute a victim spends without defibrillation lowers their rate of survival by 7% to 10%.

Increased Risk of SCA in Young Athletes

Research indicates that young people actively participating in sports face a significantly higher risk of experiencing SCA. Some reports by the Mayo Clinic suggest that every year, 1 in 50,000 to 80,000 young athletes suffer from SCA. It’s a stark reminder that cardiac problems don’t discriminate by age or fitness level.

When SCA hits during a sporting event, the clock starts ticking immediately. Immediate, effective CPR and use of AED can almost triple a victim’s chance of survival until professional help arrives. If everyone in the community, from coaches to spectators, knows where to find an AED and how to use it, we can help save many young lives.

Which School Staff Must Know How To Use an AED

A school staff knowledgeable in CPR and adept at using an AED ensures they can respond effectively in a crisis. It doesn’t matter if the medical emergency involves a student, visitor, or staff member – someone must always be ready to react swiftly. The state of California requires that certain school employees be CPR certified as part of their job responsibilities, including:

    • Coaches: California requires all paid school coaches to be CPR-certified as part of their coaching education. Since sports can be physically draining, student-athletes are at a higher risk of experiencing sudden cardiac arrest. Coaches must have the skills to act swiftly and efficiently in such scenarios to ensure the safety of their students.

    • School nurses: They are usually the first to tackle medical emergencies in schools. Their expertise in health care makes them prime candidates for CPR certification, ensuring they can provide the best possible response in critical situations.

    • Teachers: While their primary focus is education, emergencies don’t choose times or places. You never know when a situation may call for immediate action, whether in the classroom or during an after-school event. Having all educators trained in CPR means an emergency response isn’t limited to just the presence of a nurse. In California, having a CPR certification is part of the job requirement for some teachers.

The Benefits of Having AEDs In Schools

The presence of an Automated External Defibrillator can significantly alter the outcome of a sudden cardiac arrest scenario on school grounds. Some research shows that using an AED on-site immediately after the person collapses can increase their survival chances by 50% to 74%.

You can’t afford to waste time during a medical emergency, and AEDs on school grounds ensure help is immediately available. They are user-friendly, which means even those with minimal training can step in and make a difference while waiting for emergency services to arrive.

There are psychological benefits for the staff and students as well. Knowing that your school can handle such critical emergencies creates a sense of safety and security among students, teachers, and parents. This peace of mind is invaluable, fostering an environment where the focus can remain on education and learning rather than worrying about the potential for medical emergencies.

Then, there are the legal considerations. In some states, like California, legislation has caught up with the importance of having AEDs accessible. State law mandates that charter schools or school districts that organize or participate in sporting events have at least one AED on the premises.

Where To Place AEDs in Schools

When placing AEDs in schools, the main goal is to make them quickly accessible during emergencies. They must be placed in high-traffic areas like hallways connecting different school wings, main entrances, and gymnasiums. These lifesaving devices must be only a few seconds away, regardless of where someone might be in the building.

Visibility is just as vital as the location. AEDs tucked away in corners or behind doors are hard to spot in critical moments. Instead, mount them in visible, well-lit areas marked with noticeable signs. Also, place them near athletic fields or outside buildings where school events happen.

This proactive approach saves precious time during emergencies and highlights your commitment to the safety and well-being of students and staff.

How To Learn to Use an AED

If you’re already looking into CPR training in Los Angeles, you’re on the right track. CPR courses will teach you how to give chest compressions and rescue breaths. They also cover basic first-aid and using an AED.

It’s a common misconception that operating an AED requires medical expertise, but even if you are not a doctor, you can still use one. The device guides you through the process with clear, step-by-step voice instructions. So, your main job is to stay calm and follow the prompts.

Learn How To Use an AED in Los Angeles, CA

Having AEDs readily available in schools and staff who know how to use them significantly improves a victim’s survival rate in emergencies. These devices make schools safe environments for students, staff, and visitors.If you want to do your part for our children and the wider Los Angeles community, consider enrolling in CPR classes. You can learn all the safety benefits of AEDs in schools, how to remain level-headed in a medical emergency, and how to save a life with CPR. Don’t wait to play your part in protecting our children – schedule a class today!