Evidence-based educational pathway for the integration of first aid training in school curricula

De Buck E1, Van Remoortel H1, Dieltjens T1, Borra V1, Verstraeten H2, Clarysse M2, Moens O3, Vandekerckhove P4
1Centre for Evidence-Based Practice, Belgian Red Cross-Flanders, Belgium, 2First Aid Service, Belgian Red Cross-Flanders, Belgium, 3Flemish Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention , Belgium, 4Belgian Red Cross-Flanders, Belgium

Background: Currently in Belgium (Flanders), “calling for help, performing first aid and providing Basic Life Support (BLS)” is part of the educational goals in secondary schools. However, for teachers it is not always clear at what age children can learn the different aspects of first aid. In addition, it is not clear what is part of “performing first aid” and we strongly advocate that the first aid curriculum is broader than BLS training alone.

Objectives: To develop evidence-based educational materials to enable the integration of first aid by indicating the goals to be achieved for knowledge, skills and attitudes, for every grade in primary and secondary school.

Methods: Studies were identified through electronic databases research (the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, Embase). We included experimental and observational studies on first aid education to children up to 18 years old. A multidisciplinary guideline development group, including a multidisciplinary expert panel of primary and secondary school teachers, educational advisers, experts in first aid education, experts in Evidence-Based Practice, a medical doctor and a child psychologist, formulated their practice experience and expert opinion and discussed the available evidence.

Results: We finally selected 30 studies, including 13 experimental and 17 observational studies. These were studies concerning emergency call (seven studies), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (18 studies), AED (Automated External Defibrillator) use (six studies), recovery position (five studies), choking (two studies), injuries (five studies) and poisoning (two studies). Recommendations were derived after carefully discussing the currently available evidence in the literature and balancing the skills and attitudes of children of different ages.

Conclusions: Based on the available evidence and practice experience of a multidisciplinary expert panel, an educational pathway with educational goals concerning learning first aid for each age group was developed. This educational pathway can be used for the integration of first aid training in school curricula.