Teach childcare teachers how to use AEDs

During a National Resuscitation Council meeting last year, a participant asked if, in an emergency, the standard automated external defibrillator (AED) found at many public places could be used on a child that has stopped breathing.

A doctor who was present took the question and said yes. After all, the child was already dead. There was nothing to be lost by trying to revive him with an adult AED.

However, there are now AEDs meant for children, and it would be better to use these.

Some AED brands carry a "dual system" mechanism which allows the device to be easily switched from adult to child mode, while others offer the first aider the choice of applying adult, child or even infant pads on the victim.

Many public places now have these life-saving devices - they can be found in shopping centres, airports, and even some HDB areas.

That is why I find it disconcerting that very few childcare centres and kindergartens seem to have AEDs, not to mention child AEDs.

Also, it is strange that while it is compulsory for childcare teachers to be trained in first aid, an AED module is not part of the course they are put through.

These days, even taxi drivers, coaches and staff in shopping centres have the skills to use AEDs.

Isn't it time these teachers are taught, too?

Perhaps the authorities would like to look into this before an incident happens.

Loh Choon Siong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2017, with the headline 'Teach childcare teachers how to use AEDs'. Print Edition | Subscribe