My daughters recently had the opportunity to participate in the Super Hero Program, a class provided by Hawaii Heart Foundation, during which they were taught Hands Only CPR and the use of an AED. During the class, the youngest kids went first and were then encouraged to teach the older kids, who in turn taught the parents what they had learned. The children watched a video, learned about the difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack, were encouraged and empowered to take action if they saw someone that needed help, reminded about the use of 9-1-1 (and when not to use it), and given hands-on opportunities to practice the skills of saving a life through Hands Only CPR. They were also shown, and allowed to practice using, an automated external defibrillator (AED). They did not receive certification from the training, but the knowledge gained was no less valuable.
The class was well worth our time and very much appreciated. While my girls were on the younger side for this training and did not benefit from it to it's fullest (as the older children did), they are now better equipped to know what to do if they are around someone who experiences cardiac arrest. The instructor did a good job presenting the information and connecting with the kids, but she did not have the time to reinforce what was learned or to ensure each child knew the material. Therefore, I would highly recommend that parents sit in on the class and then practice and review afterward at home - perhaps even on a quarterly or annual basis.
If nothing else, the class gave us a reason to talk about these kinds of emergencies and gave the girls a reason to be interested in it. During lunch afterward, my girls talked about what they had learned, asked questions, and delved further into more emergency scenarios for a solid hour. We ran through various "what-ifs", like what if they don't know the address of where they are when they call 911 (such as when they are at a store or friend's house), what if the person needing help was in the street or other unsafe location, and what if they don't remember everything the learned but someone needs help. They were also very excited to "practice" on their dad (who pretended he had a cardiac arrest and fell to the floor dramatically) and show him all they knew.
At the time of this posting, Hawaii Heart offers this educational session free of charge to local schools (and homeschool groups) for children in all grades Kindergarten and up, though I think it is targeted to kids around 3rd-6th grade. It is worth noting that the Good Samaritan Law means that you cannot be held liable for helping care for someone or using an AED in an emergency. So in case your child is the only one available or willing to take action in an emergency situation, it is worth teaching them how to help! Consider organizing a class for your local homeschool group! Check out the Hawaii Heart Foundation's website for more information.
I'm a homeschooling mom of three, enjoying our time in Hawaii and hoping to share some of that experience with you, including ideas, reviews, resources, and information.