Red Cross First Aid - trained for Anaphalyxis?

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I was at a YMCA/Red Cross training program today. When I asked about how they handle an ANAPHALYXIS emergency, the trainer/YMCA Aquatics Director did not even know what Anaphalyxis is. He said he is certified by the American Red Cross to teach First Aid but this is not covered.

It made me realize that: 1) my kids are not safe taking YMCA classes if I am not in the building 2) that an organization like the YMCA, where all employees are certified in First Aid and CPR, has NO CLUE about Anaphalyxis.

I asked what the Aquatics Director would do if he saw someone having hives, facial swelling, and trouble breathing. He said he would call 911, give Oxygen, and stay with the victim. If an EpiPen were available (and he DID NOT know what it is), he would not administer it, he would wait for EMT.

Any thoughts? Why is the Red Cross not up on Anaphalyxis or Food Allergies??!! What can we do?

On Jan 14, 2006

I see that you don't have many posts, so you may not have run across this before, but it came up last summer. There's always the possibility that the person who has to administer first aid has had peanuts--more of an issue if it involves mouth to mouth.

So my angle on how to deal with this from a training point of view is one of awareness.

I don't know at what age I would feel comfortable leaving DS at our Y swimming. I know I was initially surprised last summer to when a friend left her sixth grader there with a friend (I was there with DS), but after thinking about it I guess it seemed okay . . . for them. No FAs.

I know since dealing with PA we've been reading that fatalities begin to rise around 11 years of age or so--when kids have more independence. We're thinking of handcuffs for a birthday present then. [img][/img] Seriously, it would be interesting to hear from Adrienne and Erik when they were allowed to wander on their own, whether it was later than their friends. I couldn't stand it when I had friends whose parents were over protective. It was bad for them. I don't want to be that way for DS, but I want to keep him alive.

On Jan 14, 2006

But what I mean is:

There is no one in the YMCA building trained on what to do in an Anaphalyxis emergency.

It is not like school where teachers, principal, school nurse are all trained.

And there are plenty of kids there all day long, with and without parents, for various programs. Just last week, my DS got hit in the chin by another boy in Sports class and the teacher did not even get me!!! She and another woman cleansed and bandaided it...told me it wasn't a big deal and I didn't realize until later that day that he needed stitches, because they downplayed the accident. So if my kid has an allergic reaction there, and they don't LET me even watch my kid's class in the gym, NO ONE is going to know until the class ends and parents are allowed in. And these teachers ARE trained in FIRST AID, but RED CROSS VERSION OF FIRST AID DOES NOT INCLUDE ANAPHALYXIS TRAINING, even though it is a common emergency!

I will search for the old threads.


On Jan 14, 2006

Also, I should mention I teach swimming at the Y so do know a lot of the staff. I plan to meet with the Director next week to go over the first aid issue with my son (what went wrong; why they didn't get me; they didn't assess it as serious, when it was) as well as this Anaphalyxis issue.

So I really do need to figure out if the staff there, who is Red Cross First Aid/CPR trained, SHOULD know about Anaphalyxis and does not, or if Red Cross training truly does not cover it.

In other words, who needs to train better, the Red Cross, or this local YMCA?

On Jan 14, 2006

Yes, you're right--they should be trained to recognize signs of anaphylaxis. Absolutely.

As a parent, however, sometimes **I** don't understand when a reaction is a reaction initially, although during the worst ana reaction we did. But yes, they should be trained to recognize signs.

But your other posts raise some scary issues--and some that are simply not present at our YMCA. Parents are welcome everywhere their children are--in every class at both the Ys in our community. No exceptions, and no problems. I simply would not feel comfortable taking my child where I could not observe. I don't leave my child where someone is not trained to use the Epipen. So when you leave your child at the Y---the teacher is trained to use the Epi, right? And you train him or her to look for signs of anaphylaxis, right--it's just that the Red Cross training doesn't provide that (to anyone).

I trained a doctor at our church to use the Epipen. I pulled him aside and showed him where DS' Epi pack is kept because he's one more steady hand--and he's a surgeon and in a time of crisis I think I could count on him (also has a daughter same grade as DS). But he didn't know how to use it. He had a pretty good idea of how it worked.

All that is to say that we can't assume that anyone is trained to use it--school staff included. I ask our school nurse to give training to DS' teachers every year.

I do think it's a good idea for Red Cross training to include anaphylaxis recognitition---but I wouldn't feel much more comfortable if it did. And I do think their training should include using an EpiPen, but I would still train anyone that I leave DS with. And I wouldn't leave DS with anyone who doesn't have a firm grasp on how to handle both--at least as much as possible.

On Jan 15, 2006

My daughter did her Bronze Cross at the YMCA this spring and part of the training was epipen use and use of portable defibrillation equipment.

Also, she just got a magazine from the Royal Life Saving Society and it says that epipen and PDE training is now part of the standard first aid at Bronze Cross and NLS, but not Bronze Medallion, the first level.

Now, this is in Ontario, Canada and is RLSS (Royal Life Saving Society), not Red Cross. But we also have St. John's Ambulance training through work and epipen, CPR and portable defibrillation is also part of the training our employees get when they get their "C" level first aid certificates.

All that being said, I don't know how many YMCA employees and volunteers would be trained in using the equipment, other than the swim instructors for the advanced swimming levels.

On Jan 15, 2006


Originally posted by McKenziesMom: [b]All that being said, I don't know how many YMCA employees and volunteers would be trained in using the equipment, other than the swim instructors for the advanced swimming levels.


I'm also in Ontario (Toronto) all city employees at summer camps, youth groups, swimming, etc., require Basic First Aid and CPR training to get hired. They also have to get recertified (I think every two years). I'm not sure who has to be trained on the defib. That training only started within the last few years.

On Jan 15, 2006

I am Red Cross First Aid/CPR trained, and it SHOULD have been covered.

In fact, in my training, we used a Epipen trainer.

Having had training every 1-3 years for more than a dozen years, I will say that the quality and content varies somewhat by instructor.

Remember that the training is only meant to provide very basic care until the medics can arrive. It is advised to do nothing unless 1) 911 tells you to and 2) you are sure of what you are doing. So, having someone trained in CPR/1st aid does not ever guarantee safety of any kind.

I'm not saying it is useless, but its usefulness is limited.

Even for the stuff you are supposed to learn... like CPR- people don't remember for long, because you don't review it and you don't use it very often (if you are lucky!)

And if a lifeguard sees a child with anaphylaxis symptoms, they have no way of knowing what is causing those symptoms unless they know the child has an allergy.

If your child with a serious allergy (or any other health problem that could require emergency treatment) is going to be at the Y or any similar place w/o a parent, I would be sure to let the staff know and make sure they know what to do!

Tara P

On Jan 15, 2006

Ok, I did some follow up.

The Red Cross is starting to include EpiPen Training in its CPR/First Aid courses, effective JULY 2006. I will attach the article in the next post. So far, the TRAINERS (ie, they are trained by the Red Cross to *teach* CPR/First Aid) do not know anything about the Epi Pen, although they should have a vague idea what Anaphalyxis paragraph is included in the First Aid manual on Anaphalyxis. It is not well explained, however, and I think they could do a better job given the increase in allergies/asthma in recent years. I think this is the intention of the JULY 2006 change to include this training.

As far as the sports classes at our YMCA, it is the Sports Director there that is a pain in the a** about parent observation. The Aquatics Dept (where I work) does allow parent observation at all times. I plan to talk to the SPorts Director this week. I hadn't worried too much because I"m always right down the hall waiting, however, the problem is they aren't getting the parent if something does happen. I have to be diplomatic since I work there, but this is a problem (not to mention they sent my 3.5yo out of the gym by himself twice when they ended class a couple minutes early).arrghh!

Thanks for the insights!

On Jan 15, 2006

First Aid and CPR Guideline Changes

November 28, 2005 [url=""][/url] ===========================================

The new guidelines have been jointly released by the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association as part of the 2005 Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Newly reviewed topics in the Guidelines will include use of oxygen, use of inhalers, [img][/img] use of epinephrine auto-injectors [img][/img], wounds and abrasions, dental injuries, snakebite, and cold emergencies (hypothermia and frostbite). One new recommendation derived from the data is in treatment for poisoning. First aid providers should not have victims drink anything, including milk or water, or give the victim activated charcoal or syrup of ipecac unless told to do so by the Poison Control Center. First aid providers should call the Poison Control Center in cases of poisoning.


There is also a chart on the Red Cross website that shows the EpiPen autoinjector training beginning Spring 2006.

On Jan 16, 2006

I'm glad you've found that the Red Cross will begin training for anaphylaxis/epi-pen. I knew the last time I took a Red Cross forst aid class there was no mention, but that was decades ago. DS went to a YMCA preschoool. But I felt very lucky because the director happened to be a nurse. She knew how to recognize anaphylaxis and give an epi-pen, but that had nothing to do with her training for her job with the Y.