Northern Beaches CPR Course – Save a life this summer!

A CHILD is four times more likely to survive a near drowning if parents know CPR and start it straight away, a new study has found.

The NSW Study of Drowning and Near Drowning in Children analysed hospital presentations and admissions from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and John Hunter Children’s Hospital.

Of the 60 families interviewed, 90 per cent of children received cardiopulmonary resuscitation following a near drowning.

Professor Danny Cass, Trauma Surgeon at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, said the study showed early intervention was a lifesaver.

“Early CPR has been shown to contribute to greater survival rates with four times as many positive health outcomes,” he said.

“For many years the community has been told any form of CPR is better than no form of CPR and it is heartening to see the message getting through.

Six children died in NSW from drowning in the past year.

“Thirty years ago it was 20 deaths a year and while six is still too many, we think the high rate of CPR has reduced deaths overall,” Prof Cass said.

Although formal CPR training and annual refresher courses were found to be low, most children who needed CPR received it immediately following the drowning.

For three years The Sunday Telegraph and The Daily Telegraph have been campaigning to have compulsory CPR taught in high schools.

Backed by Royal Lifesaving Australia and St John Ambulance, we renew our call to include CPR in the national curriculum.

The Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) recommends CPR refresher classes every 12 months and emphasises that “any attempt at resuscitation is better than no attempt”.

But Prof Cass said children should be learning CPR in schools and all new parents should either learn or turn to You Tube to find out how to perform CPR.

“I think if it is taught in school it is ideal, but I am amazed how good some of the You Tube ones are, it’s a revolution in education,” he said.

Prof Cass specifically mentioned the Vinnie Jones Hard and Fast YouTube video released by the British Heart Foundation as particularly good.

Drownings in NSW

In 2012-2013, there were a total of 89 hospital admissions from drowning in NSW

* 78% were aged 0-4

* 56% had a near drowning while in the pool with a carer or supervisor

The most common locations included:

Swimming pools (58%); baths (21%); public pools (15%)

* 48% of all the children previously had swimming lessons

* 56% of children 0-4 who had a near drowning in a backyard pool were let into the pool area by a parent/carer and then experienced a near drowning due to a lapse in supervision

* 22% of children 0-4 who had a near drowning in a backyard pool gained access to swimming pool through a propped-open gate

Source: NSW Study of Drowning and Near Drowning in Children (0-16) by Kids Health and The Centre for Trauma Care, Prevention, Education and Research at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead

The study also found that more than half the children age between 0 and 4 years old were let into the pool area by a carer or supervisor, but a lapse of supervision led to the near drowning.

“The biggest message is supervision which means continuous, undivided attention, 56 per cent of parents thought they were supervising,” Prof Cass said.

Central Coast mother-of-two Rachelle Highton was sitting in the pool area with her son and her three-year-old daughter Emily when the toddler quietly slipped under the water.

“We were sitting on the side of the pool and it was literally 30 seconds and I looked over and Emily was floating face down and was blue,” Ms Highton said.

“I pulled her out and started CPR, it seemed to take a lifetime but she ended up coming around,” the trained nurse said.

“I did not hear her at all, it was so silent, we want people to be aware it was so quick and so quiet and just luckily I can do CPR.”

One in four children in the 0-4 age group also gained access to the pool area because the gate was propped open.

Almost half had had swimming lessons and 45 per cent had water in the lungs, even those who were under the water for less than a minute.

Six out of 10 of the near drownings occurred in a private pool.

Simple Instruction conducts all courses at the Dee Why RSL and welcomes new clients and existing clients to book in the coming months. Get trained and help others in our Northern Beaches and Sydney community to ensure we have a safer community.