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The Danville News

Friday, May 2, 2008

Organization strives to save children's lives

New parents have often remarked that it would be great to arrive home with their newborn with an instruction manual in tow.


The Boyle family knows the importance of CPR/Heimlich Maneuver training.

After all, there are so many things to learn in those early months -- and through out the years -- that could be made easier with some advanced knowledge or a reference manual on hand. But this is not the case.

Hospitals and birthing centers do their best to teach parents the particulars of preliminary child care skills: bathing, breast feeding, umbilical cord cleaning.

In addition, most mandate a safety car seat be present before an infant can be discharged.

Far fewer, however, take the same level of precaution in ensuring parents are equipped with lifesaving techniques that can be vital for preventing tragedies.

Drowning and choking are two of the leading killers of children under the age of 14.

Choking is the leading cause of accidental death among infants. And because these are relatively silent killers, often events unfold with out a parent even realizing until it may be too late.

But knowing lifesaving techniques such as CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver can save children's lives. Just ask New Jersey resident Farley Boyle, mother to three girls.

CPR and Heimlich Smarts Save a Family "The smartest decision I made while I was pregnant with my first child Mackenzie, was enrolling my husband and me in an optional infant CPR course offered by my OB-GYN," says Boyle.

On Aug. 28, 2005, the day after Boyle arrived home from the hospital with her new baby girl Abby, she almost lost her toddler daughter, Chase, to a near drowning incident.

Chase fell off of a fishing boat while out having an adventure with her dad, grandfather and older sister. Mackenzie noticed Chase had gone overboard and alerted her dad.

Due to his previous training in infant/child CPR & Heimlich and fast action, Chase was saved.

Realizing that other parents could benefit from this type of emergency training, Farley started holding free CPR/Heimlich sessions for the community with the help of the EMTs who responded to Chase's emergency.

"After living through thisterrifying ordeal and what could have been the end of our perfect life, we realized that we were given a second chance. We are so thankful and knew that we wanted to share our experience and give back to our community," offers Boyle.

Farley went on to take things to a national level. She started C.H.A.S.E. for Life in 2005, hoping to give CPR and Heimlich education a user-friendly facelift by modernizing its look while simultaneously creating universal appeal. C.H.A.S.E. calls to mind the little girl for whom life was spare, and it also stands for CPR Heimlich Awareness Safety Education.

According to its Web site, www.chaseforlife.org, the nonprofit organization's mission is to save children's lives by making the education of Infant/Child CPR free and readily available to the community.

Attempts are being made to implement a mandatory program in hospitals for all first-time mothers where they must take a hands-on infant/ child CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver class or watch an instructional video before being discharged with their newborn.

Secondly, C.H.A.S.E for Life is integrating infant/child CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver education into the community through free clinics and workshops as well asdistributing instructional resources at no charge. Know the Dangers Because education and action go hand-in-hand, C.H.A.S.E. for Life offers these facts about potential hazards for children:

  • Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in children.
  • It only takes a small amount of water, even a couple of inches, to drown a child (like a toilet bowl or bucket of water in a garage).
  • Small objects, such as round foods like grapes and chunks of hot dogs; parts from toys; party balloons; coins; and other small items can easily be choked upon by inquisitive children.
  • Children can be taught to swim at age 3. They should always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when on boats and docks. Children should NEVER be left unattended around pools and water.
  • Loss of oxygen can cause brain damage in a child in approximately 6 to 10 minutes. It takes an ambulance response team in the United States an average of 8 to 12 minutes to respond to an emergency.
  • Children's bodies respond much easier and quicker to lifesaving techniques than adults'.
  • Taking a lifesaving course can help. Even if you retain only 20 percent of what you've learned, you have an 80 percent chance of saving a life, according to C.H.A.S.E. for Life. (MS)
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