The Early Childhood Initiatives Center and Northwest Health formed a partnership to provide first aid/CPR training and certification to the 5,000 early childhood professionals in Northwest Arkansas.
Thue training will help safeguard the health of more 32,000 children in the region, and the partnership is a pilot project aimed at creating community solutions that rally around children to ensure they are in the healthiest, safest environment possible.
Sharif Omar, CEO Northwest Health, said the initiative will help the community childcare provider be better prepared to care for the most vulnerable populations. Children under five are more susceptible to injury as they become mobile and curious. Infants and toddlers are at risk for choking, suffocation and poisoning because they frequently explore their environments by sucking on small objects that can easily be swallowed.
Choking is the fourth leading cause of accidental death for children under five years of age. Childcare providers often witness common events that result in injury such as falling from playground equipment, tripping and hitting a hard surface, or getting hit in the mouth with a ball or other play object.
Nearly 25% of children in the U.S. will experience choking in a child care setting, 40% of children will experience a fall resulting in injury, and almost 70% of children will experience a bite, abrasion, or cut requiring first aid.
The classes cost $85 per person on average and financial constraints have many child care centers to open in this region with limited certified staff. This partnership seeks to make the training available to everyone helping to ensure all children are better protected.
Last year the Arkansas Department of Health required that 50% of all infant, child staff have the appropriate first aid/CPR certification, which is raising demand for the training and makes the partnership timely.
“This partnership really spotlights the region’s demand for high quality early childhood services, needs within the early childhood community, and highlights Northwest Health diligence as a community partner,” said Michelle Barnes, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Initiatives Center. “Partnering with Northwest Health brings the ECIC to the next level in capacity building, and we hope is the first of many partnerships in the health field to support the health and safety of young children in our region.”