Be Prepared for Summer Safety — Learn CPR

If your summer safety plan consists of stocking bandages, anti-bacterial spray and sunscreen, you might be missing an important lifesaving tool — CPR. If a family member, friend or infant in your care had a cardiac event, could you recognize the signs of a medical emergency and respond quickly and appropriately?

This summer season, the American Heart Association encourages families to be prepared for summer safety by learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. With the swimming season and hot weather upon us, people should be prepared to act in case of a medical emergency.

Accidents, choking and drowning are leading causes of death in children. Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Of these, two out of the 10 are children aged 14 or younger. Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates. The fatal drowning rate of African American children ages 5 to 14 is almost three times that of white children in the same age range.

Learning CPR can help save lives in cases of drowning. Pool safety like locking gates, pool alarms, and closely monitoring children near pools and bodies of water are key to preventing drowning. Children and beginner swimmers should take swimming lessons and never swim alone. Find a local Heartsaver CPR class at www.heart.org/CPR.

CPR is also vital when sudden cardiac arrest – a leading cause of death in America – strikes without warning. Nearly 326,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests (SCA) occur annually in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. But CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

Since 2008, the American Heart Association has recommended that when you witness an adult or teen suddenly collapse to use Hands-Only CPR – CPR without breaths. Hands-Only CPR teaches basic steps: First, call 9-1-1 and then push hard and fast on the center of the chest until professional help or an AED arrives. By using Hands-Only CPR, bystanders can still act to improve the odds of survival, whether they are trained in conventional CPR or not. The AHA encourages everyone to view a one-minute Hands-Only CPR video at www.heart.org/handsonlycpr.

The AHA’s “Pocket First Aid & CPR” app is available through the Android market and iTunes. The app includes Adult, Child, and Infant CPR, Adult, Child, and Infant Choking, AED use, medical, injury and environmental emergencies and Emergency First Aid. The AHA’s “Hands Only CPR” app is free through cellular markets.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit www.heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.

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