10 Facts About Automated External Defibrillators in Schools
With students across the country settling in for another year of learning, now is the perfect time to discuss the importance of AEDs in schools. Last week we covered the differences in adult, child, and infant CPR as well as the pediatric chain of survival and this week we’ll cover some interesting facts and statistics about AEDs in schools.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart stops beating suddenly and unexpectedly. Often, this is caused by ventricular fibrillation (VF). VF is an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system, and when this occurs blood stops pumping to the brain, heart, and the rest of your vital organs. Bystanders who promptly begin CPR and defibrillation can keep oxygenated blood flowing throughout the body and preserve life.
Although sudden cardiac death (SCD) is shocking and leaves its mark on survivors, regardless of the age of the victim, it’s particularly tragic when school-aged children are the victims of SCD. The scars left by SCD on families, schools, and communities can be profound. Here at Cardio Partners and AED.com, we’re doing our best to raise awareness about SCA and to advocate for AEDs in the home, on the job, and in our schools.
Thousands of Children Die From Cardiac Arrest Each Year
According to the American Heart Association’s latest figures, 7,037 children die from cardiac arrest each year. When you consider that most American children spend between 175 and 180 days in school each year and receive between 900 and 1,000 hours of instructional time per year (Center for Public Education) it’s critically important for our public schools to have AEDs readily available.
SCA is Shockingly Common
It’s hard to believe, but two in fifty high schools in the United States can expect an SCA event each year.
Most States Do Not Require AEDs in Public Schools
Although Tennessee, Cardio Partners’ home state, just joined the ranks of states that require AEDs in public high schools, fewer than 20 states have enacted legislation requiring AEDs in public schools. Just nine of those states provide funding for AEDs.
AEDs in Schools Dramatically Improve the Hospital Survival Rate
The hospital survival rate of students who suffer from cardiac arrest in a school with an AED is approximately 70%, compared with only approximately 8% in the overall population of school-age children (American College of Cardiology).
Young Athletes are More Likely to Experience Sudden Cardiac Death than Non-Athletes
In the United States, a young competitive athlete dies suddenly every three days. Young athletes are more than twice as likely to experience SCD than young non-athletes (Close the Gap). The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that two-thirds of the deaths caused by SCA in children occur during exercise or activity. In fact, SCA is the leading cause of death in young athletes.
Every Second Counts
The American College of Cardiology notes that, “The most important contributing factor for survival of sudden cardiac arrest is the time from collapse to defibrillation. Survival decreases 10% every minute until a shock is applied.”
Anyone Can Use an AED
Studies indicate that students without any prior CPR or AED training can accurately use an AED as directed. AEDs are, by design, easy to use. By following an AED’s simple, clear voice prompts, bystanders can perform the crucial steps that can save a life.
The Biggest Hurdle for Many Schools is Cost
Many companies, including Cardio Partners and AED.com, offer affordable AED packages to schools. These packages may include an AED, compliance management, a wall cabinet, AED pads, a rescue-ready kit, signage, and more. CPR and AED training courses are also available.
Finding the Best Location for Your AED is Important
Your school’s AED can’t save a life if no one can find it! Finding the best placement for your AED is crucial. Locating an AED in a highly visible and public location can mean the difference between life and death.
Good Samaritan Laws Protect Bystanders
You should never be afraid to lend assistance to someone experiencing SCA. Although not all states mandate the placement of AEDs in schools, all 50 states have enacted Good Samaritan laws to protect bystanders who use an AED to resuscitate a victim of SCA.