BMJ 2007;334:1174 (9 June), doi:10.1136/bmj.39218.422650.80
Teaching children basic life support skills
Can improve outcomes but implementation needs to be earlier and more widespread

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Basic life support performed by bystanders improves outcomes in cardiorespiratory collapse, yet less than 1% of the general population can perform it effectively. It has been estimated that if 15-20% of the population could perform basic life support, out of hospital mortality could be significantly reduced.1 The most effective way of achieving this is to teach this technique in schools, making it a “life skill.”

In this week’s BMJ, a study by Jones and colleagues assesses the effect of a basic life support programme on the ability of children to administer effective chest compressions on a manikin.2 Of the three age groups compared (9-10, 11-12, 13-14 years), only children aged over 13 years could perform chest compressions to the recommended depth of 38-51 mm as effectively as adults. However, younger children could place their hands in the correct position on the chest to perform basic life support. The authors . . . [Full text of this article]

Ian Maconochie, consultant in paediatric emergency medicine, ian.maconochie ATst-marysDOTnhs DOT uk

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