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Resuscitation. 2005 Mar;64(3):303-7.

How to become an under 11 rescuer: a practical method to teach first aid to primary schoolchildren.

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Dipartimento di Pediatria, Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Viale Regina Elena 324, 0016 Roma, Italy.


It has been calculated that, on average, 20% of the population should be trained to provide first aid, if a significant reduction of mortality is to be achieved. However, wide dissemination of the principles of emergency care poses a series of difficulties. As a partial solution, we have designed a first aid training course for children aged 8-11 years in their last three courses at primary school. According to the Italian school system, classes in primary school are indicated as I through V, from start to ending. The course addresses three issues: the broken tooth, nose bleeding and paediatric basic life support (PBLS). The course is divided into 17 didactic modules: each module contains a theoretical lecture, a practical demonstration by the trainer and a session for the trainees to practice under supervision. The aim of the study was to evaluate the benefit of teaching emergency procedures including practical sessions for pupils in primary schools. Four hundred and sixty-nine children were enrolled: the evaluation consisted of a 13 question multiple-choice written test taken at the end of the theoretical session and a semi-structured test at one month. Two hundred and seventy-one children attended to the theoretical lesson only, without going through the practical session (Group A), while the remaining 189 children completed the practical training (Group B). The outcome of the evaluation demonstrates that older children (in their V school class) score better than those in their IV and III class (p < 0.001). However, when comparing Group A and Group B in each class, the children that had also been exposed to the practical training (Group B) scored significantly better (V(B) versus V(A) p < 0.001; IV(B) versus IV(A) p < 0.001; III(B) versus III(A) p < 0.01). In conclusion, this proposed method of teaching emergency first aid could be successful in training primary school children. The permanent integration of the subject into the core curriculum of primary schools, and extended to higher school levels, could help in disseminating the culture of emergency care in the general population.

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