Question: I’m looking for a nanny to watch my children, and I’ve noticed that some candidates have CPR certification and others do not. How does someone become certified, and is this important?
A: Because medical emergencies like cardiac arrest or near-drowning happen most frequently at home, it’s very important for anyone who cares for adults or children to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.
Typically, teachers, first responders, nurses and other health care professionals are required to have CPR certification for their jobs, but even if someone isn’t a regular caregiver or works outside these fields, certification can be life-saving in a variety of emergency situations.
Becoming CPR-certified involves three steps:
- attending a half-day class
- demonstrating effective use of the technique
- passing a test.
Classes are taught by trained instructors, and include education on giving CPR for adults and children, administering the Heimlich maneuver for choking victims, using an automated external defibrillator (AED) in presumed cardiac arrest, and proper ways to call for help. A dummy is used to provide students with hands-on training, and a written examination is provided at the conclusion of the course. Once the steps are completed, certification is valid for two years.
Certification classes are offered by nonprofit agencies like the American Red Cross and American Heart Association, and usually cost around $25. Other community organizations may offer CPR classes, but only a few are accredited to provide the actual certification and the latest information on these life-saving skills. Online courses are also available, though it is recommended that first-time certification be completed in a “live” class where the instructor can provide feedback during the hands-on portion of the course.