Kids learning bystander CPR may be the answer to reducing death from the 420,000 cardiac arrests that occur outside of a hospital each year. Sadly, most of those victims die because bystanders don’t know how to start CPR or are afraid they’ll do something wrong.

Fortunately, the American Heart Association (AHA) trains students, teachers and parents in CPR via its CPR in Schools initiative to help eliminate these inequities, exposing lifesaving skills to millions at a young age.

A recent study learned residents of high-risk neighborhoods believe teaching children about lifesaving CPR and then having them share this knowledge with their families and friends is key to spreading the message.

“Our continued research shows disparities exist in learning and performing CPR and we are ready to move beyond documenting gaps to finding solutions to fix them,” said Dianne Atkins, professor of Pediatrics at the University of Iowa. “School is a great equalizer, which is why CPR in schools is an integral part of the solution and will help increase bystander CPR across all communities and save more lives.”

Several states now require all students be trained in psychomotor skill-based CPR before graduating from high school. That means more than a million students trained in CPR each year, which means victims of cardiac arrest have a greater chance at getting the help they need before paramedics arrive.

To learn more about CPR in Schools legislation, go to http://beCPRsmart.org. To learn more about CPR in Schools initiatives, call (877) AHA-4CPR or visit www.heart.org/CPRinSchools.

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