As a parent, you hope you’ll never need to use CPR or first aid. But the scary truth is that if your baby chokes, or suffers a trauma like drowning or an electrical shock that knocks him unconscious, you'll want to be prepared and know what to do, rather than rely on the availability of a knowledgeable stranger while you wait for the ambulance.
Have we freaked you out yet? The good news is NYC boasts plenty of infant CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) first-aid classes and refreshers for new parents, where life-saving skills are taught and practiced until you feel as prepared as possible. So read on for our top picks on CPR and first-aid classes in the city.
Check out our list of pediatric emergency rooms in Manhattan, as well as our Baby & Pregnancy Guide for more essential NYC parenting tips.
You might also find classes at your pediatrician’s office, local community centers, fire department, and closest hospital. Always make sure the class is taught by an instructor certified through an officially recognized organization such as the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, or a major hospital.
If your family has a regular childcare provider, consider providing (or sharing the cost of) training for that person too; first aid and CPR certificates expire after two years and brushing up on these skills is beneficial to all. Please note: some of our class picks offer CPR certification, but not all do; please check with the organization if you need official certification.
Red Cross — Locations Vary
Not just for healthcare professionals, Red Cross trains more than 9 million Americans each year. Sign up for an adult and pediatric first aid and CPR class near you via the agency’s website or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS. As there is lots of information to cover, these classes might run up to six hours, but there’s also an option to first complete part of the lesson online, prior to attending the class. This cuts actual class time down to approximately two hours.
American Heart Association — Locations Vary
This organization wrote the book on CPR and first aid, literally. While it offers online learning, classroom experience is preferable for first-timers. Find a class near you via the website. If you only need CPR training, look for the Family & Friends class, which includes adult and pediatric CPR and lasts about 1.5 hours. For a more comprehensive class that includes pediatric CPR and first-aid training, select the 7-hour-long Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid CPR.
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Learn infant CPR and car seat safety at the same time at Little Hearts CPR in the city. Photo courtesy of the class.
Little Hearts CPR — Hell’s Kitchen
With classes for first-timers, refresher courses, Spanish-language classes, and private instruction options, Little Hearts is a one-stop shop and offers classes in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Taught by owner Amy Gross, who is an American Heart Association certified instructor, standard classes are 2.5-hours long and occur four to six times weekly at the Manhattan location. Gross is also a Child Passenger Safety Technician, so all classes include a taxi and car seat safety component.
Baby Be Safe — Upper West Side and East Village
Taught by American Heart Association instructors, Baby Be Safe first aid and CPR group classes are taught at the 14 Street Y and the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan. Group classes last about 2.5 hours and include first aid and CPR (infant, child, or adult, depending on the class selected). There is also the option to book a private class in your home or workplace.
Birth Day Presence — Midtown East, Soho, and Park Slope
Infant CPR and safety classes offered by this childbirth education and doula services provider are taught by an American Heart Association certified instructor and last approximately two hours. In addition to CPR training, classes cover taxi and car seat guidelines and baby safety tips (but not first aid).
Common Sense CPR prepares new parents and caretakers for what to do if your newborn stops breathing. Photo courtesy of the class.
Infant Safety and CPR — Upper West Side
Taught by Common Sense CPR founder Vanessa Anton and dually certified by both the American Heart Association and Red Cross, this class teachers parents and caretakers how to respond to choking incidents and how to administer CPR to babies ages newborn to 1 year. Anton also provides general baby safety tips and car safety advice. Taught at the Prenatal Yoga Center, this class lasts approximately 2.5 hours.
A version of this article was first published in June 2011.
Top image via Bigstock.