BOISE, Idaho — The American Heart Association is working to ensure families of newborns in Idaho get critical CPR training, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Idaho division of the AHA provided 200 infant CPR kits to local hospitals to be distributed to families of high-risk babies. The Leaders for Little Hearts campaign is filling a critical gap, as many in-person infant CPR classes have been postponed to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Over 300,000 babies are born each month in the U.S. One out ten of those babies are born pre-term, requiring care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for various health reasons.
“Some of St. Luke’s Children’s youngest patients go home from the hospital and NICU with serious medical needs, cardiac or genetic complications that put them at risk and require their families know CPR,” said Dr. Kenny Bramwell, system medical director for St. Luke’s Children’s. “These are infants on special medication to reduce the risk of apnea, babies who need oxygen at home and young patients with airway and aspiration risks.”
The transition from the NICU to home is a critical time for these high-risk babies, and it is important parents and other family caregivers get the proper CPR training in case the infant has a respiratory or cardiac emergency.
While St. Luke’s and other hospitals provide CPR training to new parents before the baby goes home, COVID-19 restrictions have limited CPR classes for extended family members who will be helping to care for the baby. To help reach those people, The American Heart Association created the Infant CPR Anytime® Training Kit, which contains the resources needed to learn infant CPR and infant choking relief in about 20 minutes from the comfort of home.
“Infant CPR Anytime is for new parents, grandparents, babysitters, nannies and anyone who wants to learn lifesaving infant CPR and choking relief skills but does not need a course completion card to meet a job requirement,” said Jake Abbott, Executive Director, American Heart Association Idaho Division.
Leaders for Little Hearts began at the end of April and ran through the first week of June – CPR Awareness Week. The goal was to raise funds to support the American Heart Association’s lifesaving mission and provide 200 Infant CPR Anytime® Training Kits to area hospitals and train 400 people in the Treasure Valley and beyond. More than 20 leaders in the community stepped up and made a personal gift to assist the campaign, in addition to asking others to walk alongside them to get these important resources into the hands of new parents and families. To date, three local health care organizations have received Infant CPR Anytime® Training Kits: St. Luke’s Health System, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center and West Valley Medical Center.
“We’re grateful to the American Heart Association for providing this valuable resource for our youngest patients. Using the Infant CPR Anytime® Training Kit to practice CPR with a partner helps caregivers feel more confident and prepared to perform CPR if and when it’s needed,” said Dr. Bramwell.