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I would like to practice basic CPR with my children, but do not want to invest in a CPR doll. I would be interested in suggestions as to how else one could do this. My idea was to practice the bits which are not dangerous with a person and to substitute a firm cushion (or several, to get a feeling for different resistance levels) for the actual pressing, with another at the top for the head. I suspect there must be something better though.

For information I am sufficiently qualified to teach first aid at the organisation I volunteer for, but have not been taught the didactics of it.

Sorry if the question is too imprecise for this site, but I hope not.

Update: here is a photo of the result. CPR dummy

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    I think you are indeed on the right track as far as how to set things up. Possibly a bag filled with wet sand with a cushion over it might be an interesting texture to experiment with as well. – L.B. Jun 13 '17 at 14:58
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    As usually ribs are broken through CPR, I recommend @L.B.'s approach and would not use a human for practice. Although your kids might not be strong enough to break ribs, they could still challenge the heart by basically being a pacemaker. – Narusan Jun 13 '17 at 21:19
  • @L.B. Is it worth making that into a proper answer? I'm afraid I asked a question that is probably hard to provide good references for. @ Narusan Should I modify the question slightly? I meant to make clear that the pressing should not be done on a human, but perhaps I was not. – michaeljt Jun 14 '17 at 8:58
  • @michaeljt Made it an answer, hope you find it helpful. – L.B. Jun 14 '17 at 14:40
  • @michaeljt I was more like joking and making sure future visitors won't think that doing it on humans was a good idea. I assumed that you would know of issues if your qualified to teach first aid. – Narusan Jun 14 '17 at 14:46
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With a very small budget

If you do not want to spend any (or very little) money on it, I recommend filling a small garbage bag with wet sand and then placing a cushion or pillow over it. I'm guessing if you want to add a realistic touch, you could place some small sticks of wood in the garbage bag to act as ribs.

Unfortunately, the above answer is all based on my guessing; but seems like it would be fun to experiment with. However, the below answer and link will give you instructions to make a DIY manikin that a CPR instructor has made and uses.

Slightly bigger budget

With some patience, time and approximately $14 USD, you can make a manikin out of a plunger, lid, foam, plaster of Paris and a few other common items. I will not go into detail about it, but here is a link to the blog where you can find detailed instructions, pictures and a list of materials.

You mention having the children practice some skills on a human. As long as they are old enough to understand the concept of not actually doing these skills on a person who doesn't need them, I encourage you to teach them on a human. Teach them the anatomical landmarks, how to check for breathing and a pulse and how to open an airway(1) on a real person.

Hope this is helpful to you. If you have any additional questions, please let me know!


(1) Note: If you plan to teach them how to open an airway, be sure to only do the head-tilt chin-lift. If you wish to teach the jaw thrust, that is best done on a doll.

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    Excellent, thank you! Looks like a fun project with the children as a bonus. – michaeljt Jun 14 '17 at 15:57
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    Welcome in the 500+ reputation section! Now that you can cast close votes, it would be great if you could help us there. The site is simply lacking active users, most questions have like 3 close votes... – Narusan Jun 21 '17 at 16:35
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    Is there any way to upload pictures to stackexchange? I thought it would be nice to put up a picture of what we finally made. It ended up being a combination of a cushion for the inside, an old plastic-rubber bath mat for the shoulders, a door snake for the head and neck and a theatre mask I got for 3.50 (Euros) at a toy shop. The children liked it! – michaeljt Oct 8 '17 at 14:20
  • @michaeljt Yes there is. If you use the desktop version, there is a link for uploading images. You could simply edit your question. I'd love to see the result! – Narusan Nov 29 '17 at 14:41
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    @Narusan-sedated Somewhat delayed, but done. Thanks! – michaeljt Dec 14 '17 at 14:18

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