It's the 7th graders here at the Rafael Cordero School that's learning CPR. The teacher and a DVD instruct kids to do something that many adults can't do, or don't want to do.
These plastic mannequins blow up for practice. Mouth to mouth breathing is not needed, only chest compressions at about one per second. Twelve-year-olds are just old enough to comprehend the method and muscular enough to do it.
"It was really hurting my hands, and you get really tired from pushing on the person, but it still helps anyway," seventh-grader Autumn Williams said.
The chest must be compressed two inches. A clicker lets kids know if their straight arms and use of upper body weight is doing the job.
One of the goals is for kids to take the kit and DVD home and teach family members how to do CPR, because most cardiac arrests happen in the home.
"It was hard for me but then I got the hang of it, and it will be easier for my mom and dad because they're stronger," said Nicholas Wondolowski, age 12.
It's wonderful that these 7th graders are learning CPR. But how can you get the training for your 7th grader?
Getting a course like this means parents have to act, or to contact their PTAs and schools, to get corporate or hospital support to buy the $35 kits, to find a local place such as EMS that teaches courses free, it makes a difference.
"There are some states that require a CPR course to get a driver's license, and they happen to be the states with the highest survival rates of cardiac arrest. If you put 2 and 2 together, having more people trained in CPR leads to better outcomes," said Jersey City Medical Center EMS Steven Cohen.
And towards that goal, New Jersey and New York have pending laws that would make it mandatory to have CPR taught in school.
For schools to get their students trained, the American Heart Association offers free programs for educators to help start and sustain CPR and AED programs. The schools then must pick up the costs for the CPR kits.
Click here.jsp to learn more about the programs.
Parents can go to http://heart.org to find a training center near them, however, those classes are not free.
Parents can also contact their local emergency medical service, as many offer free instruction.