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How to get first-aid and CPR training

Aren't sure how to how to get CPR certified? Here's everything you need to know about training, along with why you should do it.

How to get first-aid and CPR training

It’s not fun to think about emergencies. But as much as you hope they’ll never happen, you do have to be prepared. CPR and first-aid are things that everyone — especially people who care for children — should know.

You may not realize the importance of first-aid or CPR certification until you’re faced with a life-threatening situation. For some, an emergency may never occur, and for others, it may happen more than once. Whether you’re a new parent, a senior care aide, a nanny or a budding babysitter, the value of CPR and first-aid training is priceless in an emergency. Here’s how how to get CPR and first-aid certified.

Understand the benefits of CPR and first-aid

CPR and first-aid training will teach you:

  • How to check the scene of the emergency.
  • How to determine the needs of a victim.
  • When to call 911.
  • First-aid skills for controlling bleeding and treating cuts, scrapes, bee stings, insect or snake bites, etc.
  • The signs and symptoms of a heart attack, choking, etc.
  • How to treat sudden illnesses.

If you’re a parent or nanny, you know that kids like to put anything and everything into their mouths — from bugs to toys. And they’re always getting new scrapes and cuts. First-aid and CPR training can help prepare you for tackling these common childhood injuries.

In addition, emergency training is a necessary skill for caregivers to have — and it looks great on a resume. Businesses and families like to see it, as it means you’re serious about taking care of others. If you have the training, mention it in your job profile or application.

Even better: Caregivers with first-aid and CPR training are 2.5 times more likely to be contacted by families!

Find a CPR and first-aid course

You can find either online or in-person courses in most areas. Many local hospitals and community centers offer programs or can point you in the right direction. You can also find safety training courses through the websites of the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association and the National Safety Council.

They offer are a variety of courses, aimed at helping both adult and child victims. There are blended learning courses, as well as a full first-aid, CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) courses. The Red Cross even has classes that include both adult and pediatric first-aid/CPR/AED, which prepare first-time babysitters with these important skills.

Take a refresher class

After you take a class, make sure you receive a certification (most are good for two years) and ask about access to free digital skills refreshers.

“Of course, it’s important to become CPR and first-aid certified, but it’s equally vital to take refresher courses,” says Don Lauritzen, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross. “You may have taken training years ago, but it’s better to be up-to-date and confident in your skills in case of an emergency.”

“Of course, it’s important to become CPR and first-aid certified, but it’s equally vital to take refresher courses.”


Evaluate the time commitment

The lengths of the different classes vary, but all are relatively short for the amount of potentially life-saving information conveyed.

“Courses typically run anywhere from three to five hours and can be done all in one shot or multiple sessions,” Lauritzen says. Plus, you can usually find daytime, weeknight and weekend classes that can accommodate any schedule.

Assemble a first-aid kit

Even if you haven’t gotten trained in first-aid yet, you should have a completely stocked first-aid kit in your car, home, office and diaper or nanny bag. It’s essential for any emergency — from scraped knees and snake bites to car accidents and earthquakes. Your kit should include things like different size bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, hand sanitizer, gauze, scissors, etc. You can also purchase ready-made first-aid kits online.

In an emergency, dial 911 first. But you should also have the skills to detect, assess and treat victims until professional medical personnel arrive. It’s an important ability that can save lives.