The health of residents who visit recreation centers received a boost this summer. Parks & Rec partnered with the Youth Heart Watch program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to make our sites “Heart Safe.”

Youth Heart Watch helps prevent sudden cardiac death among children and adolescents. The program offers schools and recreation centers:

  • Automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
  • Cardiac emergency response plans.
Youth Heart Watch worked with Parks & Rec to make sure all recreation centers have Rescue Ready AEDs, active batteries, and pads. CHOP also provided free virtual training to Parks & Rec staff on how to save lives using CPR and AEDs.
AED battery installation at Scanlon Ice Rink.

Here are six ways CHOP and Parks & Rec are working to make rec centers “Heart Safe:”

  1. Staff know the factors that put children at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
  2. Staff can identify the warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest in children.
  3. Staff know the Chain of Survival. From recognizing a sudden cardiac arrest, to calling 911, performing CPR, and using an AED until medical experts arrive.
  4. Staff know how to use an AED and perform CPR to help save a life in a sudden cardiac      event. 
  5. Staff can run routine checks on the AED device at their site.
  6. All recreation centers are Rescue Ready. They have functioning AEDs on site and a practiced cardiac emergency response plan.

CHOP’s donation of AEDs builds on earlier donations by the Daniel E. Rumph II Foundation. The Foundation honors the memory of Daniel E. Rumph II. He was a youth athlete who collapsed during a pick-up game of basketball. He later died as a result of sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest can affect anyone, even young people who are fit and healthy. Each year, sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of more than 7,000 children in America.