Parents have been asking me whether or not learning CPR is worth doing. You bet your life so to speak. CPR is important! Let me tell you a little more about this lifesaving skill. Ninety-five percent of those who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of the hospital do not survive. This is often because people at the scene who could help that person do not attempt CPR because they simply dont know how to do it. Every parent should know how and when to give CPR. CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation a simple sequence of 3 steps that is as easy to learn as the ABCs, and once learned, can be used in an emergency if you find your child is not breathing, or if you think their heart is not pumping blood properly. Step 1 is to learn how to open your childs airway (A for airway). Step 2 is to learn how to administer rescue breathing (B for breathing). Step 3 involves compressing the heart by pushing on the center of the chest to keep circulation going (C for circulation). You perform 30 chest compressions to two rescue breaths. This will allow oxygen in the blood to get around the human body, to keep the brain, heart and other organs going when the heart is too weak to pump the blood around by itself. Recently, the CPR guidelines for adults were changed. Since most adult emergencies involve a weakened heart, now only the chest compressions should be performed what is now called hands-only CPR, if an adult is found to require CPR. Since the heart is usually in good shape in a child having an emergency requiring CPR, breathing is usually the problem. So opening their airway and performing rescue breathing remains the key to good resuscitation in children. Your local Red Cross, hospital, or even some schools, offer a CPR course several times a year. Even if you are certified in CPR, it is a great idea to get recertified every two years to learn about new advances in this skill. And remember: if you ever think you need to do CPR please have someone call 911 at the same time so that emergency medical assistance will arrive as soon as possible. Hopefully, youll find this weeks information to be life-saving when it comes to recognizing the importance of learning how to do CPR properly. Lewis First, M.D., is chief of Pediatrics at Vermont Childrens Hospital at Fletcher Allen and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. You can also catch First with Kids weekly on WOKO 98.9 FM and WCAX-TV Channel 3. Visit the First with Kids archives at HYPERLINK "http://www.vermontchildrens.org/" www.vermontchildrens.org.