5 On Your Side

Should online CPR training count?

Posted June 9, 2008

— Every year, about 20,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for choking-related injuries.

It emphasizes the need for proper CPR and first aid training. But Web sites offering quick certification are causing concern.

Whether you take your child somewhere for care or you have a babysitter come to your home, you want that person to know how to do CPR, just in case.

By law, employees at state-regulated day-care centers must pass a hands-on training course. However, babysitters you hire and those who care for children at hourly drop-off centers do not have to be trained.

Many get certified anyway, but as 5 on Your Side found, parents should ask questions about that training.

As a parent, Jessica Tripp embraced the hands-on training she received at a certification class taught by the American Red Cross. The training focused on infants and young children.

“It's very important, because I want to know wherever my child stays, that she is safe and in certified hands,” Tripp said.

That's why Tripp said she was concerned when she took a job at Screamin' Mimi's Kid's Place in Clayton. The business offers hourly drop-off child care. It advertises employees are "CPR and First Aid Certified.”

Tripp said a supervisor pointed her to FirstAidWeb.com to get that "certification.”

“It's quick, (it) takes just a few minutes and you can print out your certification at home on your computer,” Tripp said.

The site lets you pay $24.95 to print a "Certificate of Achievement for CPR." There is a study guide you can read first, as well as an eight-question quiz to pass. However, you can get the certificate without any of that.

“As a matter of fact, you could go through it and fail and go back, look at the answer and they were the exact same questions. And you could basically play with it until you got it right,” Tripp said.

Tripp said she is concerned that child-care providers can get the certificate without ever learning the procedure.

“We're not teaching people how to repair a car. We're not teaching people how to do business 101. We're teaching people how to save a life,” said Mira Batchelor, director of Health and Safety Services with the Triangle American Red Cross.

With CPR, hands-on training is crucial, Batchelor said.

“Who wants to have a shortcut on lifesaving skills? It's all about being prepared to respond in case something happens, and this kind of online training will not give you that,” she said.

Screamin' Mimi’s owner Tara Marley told 5 on Your Side she "prefers" a hands-on class, but to speed the process, she allows employees to get the online certificate. Marley said she hadn't reviewed the FirstAidWeb.com process and said she didn't realize you could "blow right through it."

Both Tripp and Batchelor said they hope this will at least prompt parents to ask about the kind of training their child-care providers have.

FirstAidWeb.com is one of a number of online sites that offer quick and easy "training." The Red Cross and other training organizations sometimes use a blended training where there is an online component. However, they say there is always a hands-on segment.


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  • tchavezjr Jun 19, 2008

    I am an American Heart Association Instructor for about 8 yrs now. The AHA has an online RENEWAL course for Healthcare Provider (HCP) CPR, geared for doctors and nurses. This is a 2 part course: part 1 is the online course. Once completed, Part 2 is to find an AHA instructor or a training center where they can do their skills check, which should only take 10 min or less. My hospital is a training center for the AHA, and we allow these students to come in and get evaluated. I do all the training at the hospital, and have had 6 online course takers come in for their skills check. ALL six were horrible, they were all over the place, didn't have good hand location, forgot steps, etc. Instead of spending a few minutes evaluating them, I am there 45 to 60 minutes going over what they did wrong. Remember, these are Doctors and nurses RENEWING their CPR card. I can only imagine how others fair with these online courses. Nothing beats hands on training, even during recertification.

  • nnb Jun 13, 2008

    The owner does not work with the kids. She does administrative work and payroll. My kids were there today, and the owner was misquoted in the story. She stated that everyone she has witnessed taking the online test took over an hour and no one "blew right threw it." The majority of the workers at Screamin' Mimi's Kid's Place do have current hands on training. The others have had the hands on in the past and took the online for recertification. Ms. Marley requires MORE than the state does. How can that be a bad thing?

  • momof3inNC Jun 12, 2008

    so let me get this right....the owner of this place, herself, is not even cpr certified? and the fact that she says she didn't realize you could blow right through it is scary enough, considering she just lets anyone walk in and get a job with out really caring enough to know whether or not they are trained properly. also her own children are in these people's care who could possibly not have the right kind of cpr training? scary scary...i sure won't be sending my kids any where near this facility or this woman!

  • Scubagirl Jun 12, 2008

    Hands on only

  • raleighheels Jun 11, 2008

    I am a mom that takes her kids to this facility. Many of the people that work there do go on to get their "hands on" certification. I have taken my kids to many places and this one is hands on the best. I agree hands on is better, but remember what the state requires..NOTHING!
    I do understand after speaking with Tara Marley the owner, who has her own childern go there, she is thinking of getting certified herself so she can train all of these employees.

    My kids will continue to go their...they love it, I feel they are 100% safe. I feel they are safer their than in our school system!!

  • PikeMom4real Jun 10, 2008


  • mrtwinturbo Jun 10, 2008

    Hands on training is always best, a website is not going to be much good unless its a porn site that allows hands on!!

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Jun 10, 2008

    Hands-on, instructor-led course must be mandatory for anyone taking CPR/FirstAid training. Web course is good as a refresher, but not as a replacement for instructor-led.

    Once the technology improves where the instructor can be on-line and the Nintendo Wii interface is available to accurately simulate hands-on procedures, I may consider trying this type of CPR training.

  • beachboater Jun 10, 2008

    I agree that hands on is the only way to go. As to the comment above about fractured ribs, I've heard if you don't break a rib, you aren't doing it right.

    The only time I've had the responsibility to do CPR, I was working with two female paramedics in the back of an ambulance. Since I was the male, I got the compression job. It is surprisingly like the hands on class demonstrates.

    I was told that CPR only works 7% of the time. That said, I heard on a scanner this morning that the paramedics were performing CPR on a patient and needed a fireman to drive the ambulance to the hospital. That person came back and was breathing on his own before they left for the hospital.

    It does work.

    I think the reason the success rate is low is because many "victims" have been down for an unknown period when CPR starts.

  • momx2 Jun 10, 2008

    As an EMT, mother, and First Aid/CPR instructor (both myself and husband. I believe that hands on is the best. We can both show you the correct hand positions and speed as well as answer questions and give you the practice time. Yes it does take longer but is well worth the time and money. The cost is the same plus cost of book. American Heart and Red cross are the best to go through you can contact your local college most offer a class monthly and can recommend instructors call you local EMS, police and fire stations as well. Most instructors are reasonable on schedule and cost. Please do not use an online training or if you are make sure to see a certified instructor to test your skills and assist you with correct speed and position. A life is too important to trust to someone with little to no training at all.