Kids’ Hearts Stop Too: How Can We Save Them?

| February 24, 2014 | 3 Comments

A heart stops. Yourself, your partner, your parent, or even your child collapses. A person in the crowd administers CPR.  An ambulance is called. If you are lucky, there is an Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) nearby and someone thinks to use it.

There is no question that CPR saves lives, but AEDs save more lives and help prevent brain damage that can occur from being without a heart beat for too long. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use.  You don’t need any training to use them, although it helps. For some people, they are the only thing that stands between life and death.

AEDs have been in the news a lot the last few years. Ordinary, everyday people are using the devices to save lives in gyms, arenas, airports, and schools across Canada.

In Toronto, several students’ lives have been saved by quick-thinking teachers and students who have grabbed an AED and used it on a student or classmate.

Sherry Lynne is a sudden cardiac arrest survivor. She and teen daughter have a heart condition that can cause their heart to stop without warning. Sherry has been fighting to get an AED put in her daughter’s school in Alberta, to no avail. Everywhere she turns, from the school board to the province, tell her that elementary schools are not a priority for AEDs.

“AEDs are still viewed as old people things. We need them in schools. Training needs to be done, even required,” says Sherry.

All of the highs schools in the City of Ottawa have AEDs and so do some of the elementary schools. I am told the Ottawa Carleton School Board has a plan to place AEDs in all of its elementary schools. Right now priority is being given to schools with students with known heart conditions and to those used by the community (i.e. adults) for exercise and sports programs.  But what about the kids who don’t know they have a potentially deadly heart condition?

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Category: Family, Wellness

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Comments (3)

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  1. Stephanie LaPlante says:

    I totally agree that AEDs should be necessary everywhere. We have a family who has a son that went into cardiac arrest at 2 years old. He is now severely mentally disabled for the rest of his life.

  2. Victoria Ess says:

    It’s so important to have AEDs accessible in every public space. You never know what’s going to happen and it’s a small price to pay to avoid tragedy.

  3. DebH says:

    My gym has an AED and although I don’t know how to use it I know exactly where it is located. I would do my best to figure it out, if the situation required me to.

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