Should First Aid and CPR Be Taught in Schools?

Nov 14, 2016 by

The case for making first aid training mandatory and the debate surrounding this topic are not new. Public health advocates in various states have been urging their local councils to add CPR and first aid training to school curriculums for a few years.

Public health advocates in D.C., for example, urged the D.C. Council to make first aid training a requirement. The American Academy of Pediatrics and many of its chapters are also taking active steps towards influencing local regulations and persuading schools and councils to introduce the training.

While there is no doubt that first aid training is useful and can help prepare students for emergencies in the future, the big question remains the same. Should first aid and CPR be taught in schools?


More Than Just Basic Training

Experts believe that first aid training will help develop students’ ability to respond to emergencies. Being able to do CPR – and confidently knowing the required skills to handle such emergencies – can be useful and will help equip students better in life.

The same set of skills and the way they are taught will also help students with developing a high level of confidence and the ability to adapt to different environments. First aid training helps increase morale, which in turn will help students be more comfortable in their environment. They will also develop focus and the ability to think clearly (and make important decisions) under pressure.

There are practical benefits too. First aid training and CPR save lives. There are more than 140,000 deaths a year that could have been prevented with proper first aid knowledge. 70% of people involved in a cardiac-related situation feel helpless to act and don’t really know what to do. Adding first aid training as a mandatory class in school will greatly influence those numbers.


Tailored Training

While the decision to make CPR and first aid training mandatory has yet to be made, the training programs and available trainers are already more than ready to meet the potentially increased demands. In fact, a lot of schools in the D.C. area – and other areas where first aid training is still not mandatory – have already hosted training sessions for students.

In certain states, this type of training is already required, which is why it is not surprising to find tailored training programs being added into the curriculum. In fact, some universities are beginning to list first aid training as one of the requirements for enrollment.

To help make training more accessible, there are smaller programs and affordable training services available for both organizations and individuals. It is just as easy to find a thorough first aid training course for a specific audience or group of students.

We’re also seeing a big increase in training and exposure among companies and corporations. Workers are being given first aid training as part of company health and safety programs. There are even tailored training courses for different industries. Those working in harsh environments such as plantations and offshore, for example, are given more thorough training, which covers more serious emergency situations.

Fighting the Bystander Effect

It is important to remember that first aid training is just the first step, but it is an effective first step nonetheless. There are so many benefits to enjoy and new skills to pick up with just one course. In fact, studies suggest that children are more likely to develop the Bystander Effect when they are not introduced to first aid training early and in school.

The Red Cross and other health organizations are helping the cause. CPR courses for children between the ages of 5 and 11 are regularly given as part of school visits and other similar programs. Public trainings and seminars at parks, malls and halls are also quite easy to find. All of these efforts are being made to get more people, especially children, to gain a better understanding of first aid and CPR.

On the other hand, there are 27 states in which public high school graduates are required to have first aid training. Texas, Virginia, North Carolina and New York are among those states. While there are councils that have not added first aid training as a mandatory class, this number is decreasing rapidly.

That brings us neatly to the original question: should first aid training be mandatory in schools? The majority of stakeholders consider it to be a necessary life skill to have. It won’t be long before other states follow suit and councils start to add first aid training as one of the basic skills every child and school graduate should have.

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  1. Avatar
    Taylor Anderson

    I like how you mentioned that teaching first aid can help reduce the number of bystanders at the scene of an accident. Because there’s a lot of traffic in my area, injuries and accidents are quite common. This makes me think that perhaps I should learn first aid, so I can help out. Thanks for the great article on why first aid is important and should be taught in schools.

  2. Avatar

    i love this article it teaches me about health

  3. Avatar

    First aid training mandatory and the debate surrounding this topic are not new. Public health advocates in various states have been urging their local councils to add CPR and first aid training to school curriculum’s for a few years. So its a must great blog to post keep it up thanks!

  4. Avatar

    Are there any reasons why it should not be taught in school?

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