Background: Life-supporting first-aid (LFSA) training in primary schools might prove a useful means of increasing cardiac arrest survival rates. We thus studied the feasibility of introducing first-aid training to 6-7-year old primary school children.
Methods and results: During 1 week medical students and emergency physicians provided LSFA training to 47 first- and second-year pupils, including semi-automatic defibrillation. A course assessment was made using cartoon-style questionnaires for the pupils, video tapes of the training and telephone interviews with the children's parents. Prior to training, only eight pupils (17%) were able to place in the correct sequence a series of pictures illustrating the various stages of the procedure of semi-automatic defibrillation. After training that figure rose to 24 (51%). Using a semi-automatic defibrillator, excellent performances were recorded by video camera in eight pupils. Post-training telephone interviews were conducted with 34 parents (79%), 28 (82%) of whom now considered their children capable of reacting properly in an emergency situation. The children had been given stickers displaying the European Emergency Call Number 112 together with a set of brochures. In 25 cases (74%), the children applied the stickers to their parents phones at home.
Conclusions: LSFA training is a feasible proposition for 6-7-year olds who might well be in a position to save the lives of cardiac-arrest victims. Future training sessions should determine the impact of repeat courses and the findings should be used to convince politicians and administrators of the need of LSFA training as a mandatory subject in schools.