Learning lifesaving skills through play

Learning lifesaving skills through play

Learning lifesaving skills through play

Earlier this week, we unveiled the CellAED Trainer device and app developed to aid familiarity of our next-generation AED (automated external defibrillator).

Our head of usability, Dr Katherine Faull talked about the thinking that went into development of CellAED Trainer.  It was created to give people an opportunity to practice CellAED’s Snap, Peel, Stick application method before being confronted with that high-pressure moment of helping someone survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

In other words, CellAED Trainer gives us something to play with – and in so doing, become familiar with the simple moves required to save a life.

Toys for learning

A rich body of evidence exists demonstrating the effectiveness of using toys for learning.  Mustafa Önder’s work is one example, showing the many benefits of using plays and toys to enhance learning, identify learning difficulties, and deal with challenges to learning such as digital addiction.

Even the business world is wise to this, using toys and play to instil and embed better practices.  Lego, for example, is a favourite tool of management consultants to break down barriers to learning new methods of business performance and teamwork.

It’s no accident Lego is popular with all ages, for both play and learning.  Early childhood learning expert, Gabriel Guyton has posited that toys don’t need to be complicated to deliver a learning benefit.

“Toys and play naturally provide opportunities for practicing different thinking skills, such as imitation, cause and effect, problem solving, and symbolic thinking.”

A key point of Gabriel Guyton’s work was that toys are particularly effective in creating connections between teacher and student.

Toys for learning about cardiac health

Many of us grew up with medical-themed toys – a doctor’s bag with stethoscope and rubber reflex hammer, and maybe a white lab coat.

Interactive toys for young children has been proven to improve awareness of health and how our bodies work.

In their studies into the integration of toys into cardiac education for children, M. Maruyama and R Lederer used origami to help children understand how their heart worked.  In so doing, they also sought to understand how best to enhance the doctor / patient relationship when the latter were children.

Their cardiovascular program, Play, Learn, Teach! demonstrates how the importance of cardiac health can be impressed on people from an early age.

“A possible long-term outcome is a decrease in the incidence of cardiac disease among the adult population.”

Learning lifesaving skills through play

Maruyama and Lederer suggested using age-appropriate toys and play to teach about health and anatomy from a young age, will likely have longer-term benefits for individuals and populations.

We’ve seen this proven in relation to CPR and AED awareness training.  The example we used earlier this week was the significantly improved cardiac arrest survival rates a decade on from introduction of Denmark’s CPR in Schools program, Little Life Savers.

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Examples like this demonstrate how effective childhood exposure to lifesaving skills can have on the impact of related health issues, both for themselves and their communities.

One challenge that our communities need to overcome, is reluctance to use AEDs in an emergency.

Perhaps in addition to pretend stethoscopes and lab coats, the inclusion of simulated AEDs in toy medical bags would be a positive step in that direction.


DISCLAIMER: CellAED is currently only approved for use in the member states of the EU (European Union).  If you would like to be kept informed on when regulatory approval has been secured for your location, register your interest here.