Thursday, July 16th, 2009
Infant CPR Training Kit: Convenience over Thoroughness?
The Infant CPR Anytime Personal Learning Program by the American Heart Association is a self-directed kit that “allows families, friends and others who care for infants to learn the core skills of infant CPR and relief of choking in just 22 minutes.”
For $35 you get an inflatable mini baby mannequin, bonus spare lung, training DVD, quick reference guide, wipes, and a practice phone. The phone isn’t shown in the product photos, maybe because it’s a silly addition.
At first thought this kit sounds like a good idea, but consider a few things.
1. A single purchase allows you, your spouse and maybe a babysitter or grandparent to take turns practicing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. However, the Heart Association’s marketing photos show family members each using their own doll together as a family. Does the AHA actually expect us to buy multiple kits?
I mean look at the photo above. They almost want you to buy a kit for the dog.
2. The DVD program lasts 22 minutes. The infant portion of a face-to-face course lasts 1.5 hours. The difference is that in the classroom you watch a video, the instructor gives you supplemental instruction, you take a written exam and everyone is tested using a dummy. Watching every other person use the dummy (don’t worry, there are disposable mouthpieces) drills the procedure into your brain. There’s no such luck with the DVD home version.
3. In-person CPR courses teach both infant (up to 12 months) and child (1 to 8-years-old) CPR and cost $25 to $45. Maybe the kit costs less and requires less time, but the classroom version could mean you saving your child’s life when he’s a toddler or beyond, and assures that you’ve refined your technique.
4. If you go through the in-person course, you can learn adult CPR too and pay an extra fee to be certified in CPR. Aside from being a good idea, it’s a nice footnote in the education section of your resume.
5. I’m doubtful about how well a DVD course can train you. My wife is in the process of becoming a CPR instructor. She notes that there is an online course that covers the written test, intended for people who don’t have the time to take a 6-hour classroom course covering infant-child-adult CPR. But to be certified you have to lay your hands on a dummy, and the instructors she has spoken with say web-based students are under-prepared when they show up for the hands-on test. The students end up needing additional instruction.
I suppose the kit makes sense if you have a large number of people who will be caretakers for your infant. If not, look for a babysitter who already knows CPR (it’s a sign he or she takes the job seriously). In our area, city recreation departments offer babysitting courses that include a CPR component and so I can actually advertise for a babysitter who has a babysitting certificate.
To find an AHA classroom course near you, visit the preceding link, punch in your zip code, and select “Family and Friends CPR” from the drop-down menu.
If the AHA doesn’t teach in your area, look up your Red Cross chapter and take one of its CPR courses.