Should hospitals be required to give CPR/basic first aid courses to new moms and dads?
by Lisa Fogarty
A 6-month-old baby girl, who was traveling with her family to Puerto Rico, is alive today thanks to a 63-year-old woman who knew CPR. Jeanne Gallahue quickly responded when she heard a flight attendant shout for help. Over the next 2 hours, which were most assuredly the worst of the baby's mother's life, Gallahue helped resuscitate the child -- who may have suffered an allergic reaction -- while advising the pilot to land in North Carolina so the baby could receive care at a hospital and instructing passengers and flight attendants on how they could help. Thankfully, this amazing woman was carrying the breathing apparatus she needed to save the baby's life, but it's scary to think many moms and dads are unaware of how to take the simplest steps to help their child if he or she is choking.
When you have a baby, you realize how powerless you are in many ways. You can't prevent a 104-degree fever from suddenly waking your poor infant (and poor you) at 2 in the morning, and you can't stop them from crashing to the ground as they try and take their first steps. That's why it feels even more crucial that we do whatever we can to make a difference in our children's health whenever possible.
One of those ways is by taking a CPR and basic first aid class.
When I gave birth to my first child, I was astonished to learn that my hospital didn't offer CPR training, especially considering how there were other requirements they had for me as a new mom and how its staff members didn't hold back their strong opinions on, oh you know, things like their personal feelings about baby formula versus breastfeeding. I was required to watch a poorly-made video about child abuse and sign a form, vowing I wouldn't shake my baby. Before allowing us to leave the hospital with our daughter, my husband and I also had to prove to a nurse that we had properly installed our car seat.
Aside from their rants against formula, which made me quite livid at the time, I was more than happy to do whatever I could to prove I was worthy of being this little girl's mommy. But hospitals are neglecting a hugely important new mom and dad skill by not requiring that we learn baby CPR. We know that babies can and will try and put everything under the sun into their mouths during their first year on the planet. Infant first aid is simple to learn and can save a baby's life.
Hospitals should provide training and make it a requirement for all new moms and dads to learn CPR prior to taking our little ones home.
Do you think hospitals should be required to give CPR/basic first aid courses to new moms and dads?