We all know that for parents, worrying comes pretty naturally. Those "what ifs" -- from silly stuff like "what if his head is always that big?" to more serious questions like "what if she chokes on that carrot?" -- keep you up nights.
So a program from the American Heart Association aims to make sure rookie parents and their second-string of grandparents and babysitters are prepared to handle an emergency, should it arise.
I took the Family & Friends CPR class at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, where it's offered as a prenatal education class. CDH usually offers at least five classes each month.
In the four years that CDH has facilitated the class, Stephanie Krantz, head of prenatal education, says it has been very successful. Each class at CDH lasts about three hours, easy to accomplish in just one evening or weekend afternoon.
The video-led American Heart Association materials include three modules of CPR and choking -- infant (under 1 year), child (1 year until the onset of puberty) and adult (past puberty) -- interspersed with time to practice on a CPR mannequin.
Some hospitals simply use the video model, or people can buy the Family & Friends CPR Anytime kit ($34.95 each adult/child and infant).
At CDH, Krantz says they use the video curriculum and supplement with a trained instructor who can observe and correct each person's technique.
Taking a CPR class might not be the most glamorous way to spend a few hours, but the Family & Friends course is an excellent and nonthreatening way to brush-up your skills or learn the basics for the first time -- and make sure you're ready for all those scary "what ifs."
Elizabeth Diffin is the associate editor at Chicago Parent. She lives in Wheaton.
See more of Elizabeth's stories here.