Uncontrolled bleeding is the leading cause of preventable death after a traumatic event, and early intervention to control bleeding improves opportunities for survival. It is imperative to prepare for local and national disasters by increasing public knowledge on how to control bleeding, and this preparation should extend to both adults and children. The purpose of this study is to describe a training effort to teach basic hemorrhage control techniques to early adolescent children.
The trauma and emergency departments at a combined level I adult and level II pediatric trauma center piloted a training initiative with early adolescents (grades 6–8) focused on 2 skills: packing a wound and holding direct pressure, and applying a Combat Application Tourniquet. Students were evaluated on each skill and completed presurveys and postsurveys indicating their likelihood to use the skills.
Of the 194 adolescents who participated in the trainings, 97% of the students could successfully pack a wound and hold pressure, and 97% of the students could apply a tourniquet. Before the training, 71% of the adolescents indicated that they would take action to assist a bleeding victim; this increased to 96% after the training.
Results demonstrate that basic hemorrhage control skills can be effectively taught to adolescents as young as 6th grade (ages 11–12 years) in a small setting with age-appropriate content and hands-on opportunities to practice the skills and such training increases students’ perceived willingness to take action to assist a bleeding victim.