Babies and children * Young people

Schools not equipped to deal with cardiac arrest

Most schools not equipped to deal with cardiac arrest 270 cardiac deaths in schools every year

Few schools are equipped to deal with a cardiac arrest, a national charity has warned.

Only 80 out of more than 30,000 schools in the UK have access to life-saving defibrillators - equipment which could potentially save the life of a child following a sudden cardiac arrest, according to SADS UK, the Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome charity.

Each year around 270 deaths from cardiac arrest occur in British schools, the charity said, but there is no legislation in the UK requiring schools to have defibrillators.

The charity is calling for new legislation to make defibrillators mandatory in all schools and has already secured the support of over 60 members of parliament through an Early Day Motion.

Although the Department of Health funded 680 defibrillators to be placed in public areas including airports and shopping centres in 2000, it did not include schools.

Anne Jolly, founder of SADS UK, said: “It is impossible to place a value on a child’s life and it is imperative that all schools have access to an AED to prevent some of these potentially avoidable deaths.

"For the cost of a computer, we call for the government to state that an AED should be present in all schools to prevent some of the 250 lives lost each day to sudden cardiac arrest.”

Dr Jan Till, a consultant paediatric electrophysiology cardiologist at the Royal Brompton hospital in London, said: “A sudden cardiac arrest in a child is devastating and extremely difficult for all concerned. An AED gives that child a lifeline, and parents and teachers know that they have done everything possible to increase the chance of that child surviving.”

This article was published on Thu 21 July 2011

Image © Cecilia Lim -

Related Stories

Use this story

Heart attack
Link to this page
Printer friendly version

Share this page