Children should be taught CPR to save lives

RCN congress delegates call on governments to mandate teaching of cardiopulmonary resuscitation to schoolchildren
Child CPR

Children across the UK should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to equip them to save lives for the rest of their lives, politicians have been urged.

Child CPR
Photo: iStockphoto


Delegates at the RCN congress in Glasgow this week called on the governments of the UK to mandate the teaching of CPR to schoolchildren, saying that the immediate action of bystanders was vital to increase survival rates of cardiac arrests.

Speaking on behalf of the union's Dumfries and Galloway branch, Valerie Douglas, a lecturer at the University of the West of Scotland, said that training schoolchildren in CPR would be low cost and take just 30 minutes. ‘The cost is low, but the impact would be tremendous,’ she said. ‘It may well save your life or a child’s life.’

Evaline Omondi said children could be trusted to learn and administer CPR. ‘Children are brilliant at learning these skills; don’t underestimate them,’ she said.

Different kettle of fish

But Jane Fisher said that while it took 30 minutes to teach a child CPR, it took longer to help them understand the implications if they are unsuccessful. ‘That’s a different kettle of fish,’ she said. ‘There’s a risk to a child who attempts CPR and is unsuccessful and doesn’t get support,’ she warned.

But Katie Sutton of Central Manchester branch said: ‘It’s gruelling to participate, but worse to stand around and not know what to do.’

The resolution was overwhelmingly passed, with 30 abstentions and 19 votes against.

Further information

RCN debate on CPR lessons