CPR is one of the most important skills that anyone can learn – after all, how many skills can literally save a person’s life? Not many, but CPR is one of them.
As such as important skill, it should be no surprise that a number of high-quality teaching aids have been developed over the years. 

The humble CPR manikin itself was developed way back in the 1950s, and has since been its incredible success, enjoying a number of developments and refinements over the years.

One of the newest upgrades has been CPR manikins with lights. But just what are they, are they effective and are they worth the investment?

What Do the Lights Do?

The first thing to stress is that these manikins are 99% the same as the standard models. They work in the same way and they teach CPR with the same features, they just come equipped with lights as an added feature. So, you don’t need to worry that the lights are replacing any part of the time-honored design. They are not, they merely enhance it.

So, what are the lights and what do they do?

Well, to answer the first question, typically they are LED lights and they are installed just underneath the “skin” of the manikin. That way they can shine through and be easily seen.

They are used to provide an additional level of feedback to the student during CPR training. This will cover three key areas:

Compression Indicator Lights

The chest compression part of CPR is a key stage of this lifesaving treatment. However, the students must always be reminded that the compressions must be deep and strong otherwise they will not aid the heart to pump blood. In fact it is not unheard of for patients to receive broken ribs during CPR, such is the force that must be exerted.

Traditional CPR training manikins have several ways of teaching the appropriate force for compressions. All of them give a certain degree of feedback by allowing the chest area to move realistically beneath the pressure of the compressions. Some may also give an audible click then the appropriate pressure is given.

A manikin equipped with LED lights, however, will be able to give the most accurate feedback. It will judge the pressure as it is applied and will give appropriate light signals that match the pressure. This high-tech feedback teaches the student exactly how much pressure to apply during compressions, making it a really useful feature in teaching CPR.

Blood Circulation Lights 

As we are all aware, CPR is performed on a person who is in cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest means that the heart has either stopped or is out of rhythm to such an extent that it can no longer pump blood around the body. The brain will die without a flow of oxygenated blood, as will the patient.

CPR is vital in getting that oxygenated blood to flow around the body, keeping the patient alive until they can be effectively treated. This is why it is vital to explain this function of the CPR process to students during training so they understand exactly what they doing. This also helps them to perform the technique better.

The display in a light-equipped CPR manikin is designed to do exactly that. It shows the path of the oxygenated blood around the body. What’s more however, the light will grow stronger as the simulated blood flow does. This is controlled by chest compressions. The more effective the compressions, the stronger the blood flow and the brighter the LED lights.

As we discussed above, teaching proper form and pressure with the chest compressions is a key part of teaching CPR itself. The built-in LED lights showing blood flow are another highly effective teaching aid in this area.

Brain Blood Oxygen Indicating Light 

This bank of LED lights is mounted in the head of the unit, usually in the forehead. It works to simulate blood flow to the brain. Again, it lights brighter as blood flow increases and remains at the appropriate amount.

As you may appreciate, this is controlled by the power and quality of the chest compressions. So again, this is a very useful tool in helping to teach the compression stage of CPR.

What Are the Benefits? 

The main benefits are that a light equipped CPR manikin makes it far easier to teach the chest compression stage of CPR. As we have discussed above, this stage of the process is vitally important to the successful use of CPR in the real word and on a real patient.

It can, however, be one of the harder parts of the technique to train. People can be worried about using too much force, for example, which could hurt the patient. The innovative LED light displays, however, can show the importance of the correct level of force and help accurately teach the student the exact amount of force to use during compressions.

This helps to explain why CPR manikins with lights are such an effective teaching aid.