Training schoolchildren in basic life support (BLS) is strongly recommended to effectively increase bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) rates. Paediatricians and other health staff members used to be involved in BLS training, but the wide dissemination of BLS skills would need additional support; as a solution, schoolteachers might have enough knowledge necessary to help to achieve this goal. The aim of this cross-sectional survey study, which involved 3423 schoolteachers, was to evaluate the knowledge related to first aid (FA) and BLS of schoolteachers in Spain. In addition, the study aimed to evaluate the content taught to the schoolchildren regarding FA and teachers’ attitudes towards teaching FA. Three-quarters of the surveyed schoolteachers reported knowing FA, and 17% reported teaching it. The emergency medical telephone number and CPR were the subjects taught most often by schoolteachers. However, the schoolteachers demonstrated a lack of knowledge in the identification of cardiac arrest and in CPR. Ninety-eight percent of the respondents agreed with including FA training in schools and as part of university degree programmes and supported the KIDS SAVE LIVES statement. Teaching FA was a positive predictor to be willing to perform CPR (OR: 1.7; 95% CI 1.32–2.31) and to use a defibrillator (OR: 1.4; 95% CI 1.10–1.67).
Conclusions: Schoolteachers are willing to teach FA in schools. However, more training and specific curricula are needed to increase the quality of schoolchildren’s CPR training. The training of schoolteachers in CPR might be the foundation for the sustainable transfer of CPR-related knowledge to schoolchildren. Therefore, the inclusion of FA and BLS in university degree programmes seems to be essential.
What is Known:
• Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation rates are associated with improved survival rates.
• Resuscitation training in schools increases the bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation rate.
What is New:
• Schoolteachers are willing to teach basic life support, but they need more and better training.
• Schoolteachers agreed with the inclusion of first aid training in schools and university degree programmes aimed at training teachers/undergraduate teaching degrees.