Hillary Chybinski: How -To - Help Save Children's Lives

Friday, June 22, 2012

How -To - Help Save Children's Lives

Today, we have a guest post from Darren Sudman about heart conditions in children.  One of my biggest fears is something happening to my children. . .but there is power in knowledge and educating yourself.  I hope you'll take a few moments to check our Darren's story.
Life is full of costly moments.  The pipes in the basement burst in the winter because no one told us to turn off the water to the spouts.  The car tires had to be replaced because no one told us that we should rotate them.  The taxing authority charged principal and interest because no one told us about quarterly payments.  Costly moments are really just another way to describe life's lessons.  We just don't want them to be fatal.

Seven years ago, our three month old son Simon died.  He was taking a nap,  We knew about SIDS, but this wasn't SIDS.  This was a heart condition that causes up to 15% of all SIDS deaths that no one tells us about.  This was an arrhythmia called Long QT Syndrome and we discovered it when we all got ECG exams following Simon's death.  At that moment, we decided that Simon's Fund would be the "one" to tell you about sudden cardiac arrest and death in kids.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, two thousand children die every year from sudden cardiac arrest.  This number could be much higher.  There is no registry tracking the sudden deaths of children, and many drownings, SIDS deaths and unexplained single fatal car accidents are a result of sudden cardiac arrest.  There are a few ways to tackle this problem.  We can provide heart screenings to students and hope to detect these condition before they harm our children. To date, Simon's Fund has screened about 4,000 hearts and helped at least 38 families discover potentially-fatal heart conditions.  We can place AED devices in schools and recreation centers, and teach CPR so that when our child does collapse, there is a chance for her to be saved.  We can raise awareness by passing smart legislation like the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act that was signed into law on May 30, 2012.

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act requires parents of student athletes to review and sign an information sheet about sudden cardiac arrest before each season begins.  It requires coaches and athletic directors to complete an annual online training course on sudden cardiac arrest.  In so doing, these individuals will be able to recognize the warning signs and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest.  If a student exhibits any of these signs or symptoms during competition, the athlete must be pulled from competition until cleared by a licensed medical professional.
This law makes sudden cardiac arrest a household name.  It will have residuals benefits too.  As students, parents and coaches become more aware of this problem through the implementation of this law, there will be greater demand for screenings and AEDs and more lives will be saved.
Simon never played sports.  He didn't' get to do too much.  However, we hope that your kids will.  We hope that this legislation, along with the screening efforts of our organization, make this world a little safer for you and your families.
For more information about sudden cardiac arrest and Simon's Fund, visit www.simonsfund.org

Governor Corbett signed the bill for PA on May 30.  What is your state doing to protect children?

catch you soon -

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