Emergency Education for Children: Teaching ‘Stop the Bleed’

Through the Stop the Bleed program, the American College of Surgeons strives to empower individuals to make a difference during a life-threatening emergency by teaching them the basic techniques of bleeding control. Teresa Williams, RN, BSN, IU Health Arnett Trauma Outreach Coordinator is now offering Stop the Bleed classes for children with the help of the Lafayette Police Department. The program focuses on teaching children how to recognize hemorrhage, identify causes of injury, stay safe while activating 911 and includes practice for applying direct pressure.

Recently, Boy Scout Troop 336 and IU Health team members brought their children to a Stop the Bleed class. While parents may worry how learning about this trauma will affect their children, it is important that children know what to do if they are faced with an emergency where an adult may not be nearby or may be the one injured. A parent attending the class with their child stated, “I thought it was great information. I think this type of class would be great for all.”

Serious, uncontrolled bleeding from trauma can result in death in less than 10 minutes. This is especially true when emergency response is delayed for an active shooter or other violent event. Ultimately, the Stop the Bleed program is similar to teaching children about “stop, drop and roll” for fire safety or teaching them about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). “We hope that we never have to use these techniques, but in the case that there is a trauma, they have the right tools and knowledge to help save lives,” Williams says.

It is not only in cases of mass shootings that these life-saving techniques can be used. “Whether the incident occurs at home, at school or on the street,” Williams says, “If someone is bleeding, we can empower these children to take action and help stop the bleed.” Anyone who happens to be at the scene of an accident or act of violence can become an immediate first responder and save lives—if they know what to do.

Children are aware of their surroundings. They are capable of wonderful things, especially if they have the right education. Stop the Bleed, can give children the confidence needed to help treat an accident in an emergency.