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Inside Pediatrics Podcast

BIRMINGHAM – Tens of thousands of Alabama school children now have access to heart safety resources and life-saving education thanks to funding provided by The Caring Foundation of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

Children’s of Alabama established Alabama LifeStart in 2008 as a statewide affiliate of the national organization, Project ADAM®, in order to promote awareness of the importance of having Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in Alabama schools. Since that time, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama  has helped the program ensure that all public middle, junior and senior high schools in the state are equipped with AEDs in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest on campus.

Nationwide, thousands of school-age children die from sudden cardiac arrest each year and only five to 10 percent survive without immediate treatment. An AED can increase the survival rate to 50 percent.

A 2007 survey conducted with the Alabama State Department of Education identified 71 public high schools and 107 public middle schools that did not have any AEDs on campus.

The Alabama LifeStart Program is educating staff, faculty and students on the proper usage of AEDs in case they ever witness a cardiac emergency at the school or in the community. With the addition of AEDs, AED trainer devices and AED training, the program’s goal is to have the knowledge, ability and resources in each school to respond efficiently and to help save lives.

Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children, offering inpatient and outpatient services throughout central Alabama. Ranked among the best pediatric medical centers in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s provided care for youngsters from every county in Alabama and 42 other states last year, representing more than 684,000 outpatient visits and more than 15,000 inpatient admissions. With more than 3.5 million square feet, Children’s is one of the largest pediatric medical facilities in the United States. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the teaching hospital for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, psychiatry, research and residency programs. The medical staff consists of UAB faculty and Children’s of Alabama’s full-time physicians as well as private practicing community physicians.

For more information, visit www.bcbsal.org/web/the-caring-foundation.html or www.childrensal.org/alabama-lifestart.