5 Online CPR Classes to Help Prepare You for an Emergency

As parents, we hope to act thoughtfully and confidently in moments of crisis. CPR training teaches valuable skills that could save a life. 

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CPR classes
Photo: Simple CPR

Whether you're about to become a parent for the first time or have teenagers at home, make safety training a priority. CPR is an essential skill that all parents should feel comfortable performing if the need arises. And you don't need to leave your home to learn it. There are many programs that offer CPR classes online, so you can work them in around your schedule.

The Best Online CPR Classes

Board-certified pediatric nurse practitioner Reina Perl, PNP-BC, IBCLC, says it's important for anyone who may be a caregiver to an infant or small child to have basic CPR training. She explains that these classes "empower someone in a moment of panic to figure out what to do correctly." Before working at Our Kids' MD, a private pediatric practice in New York City, Perl served as a certified CPR instructor in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Confusion and fear are natural emotions during an emergency, but Perl notes, "If you've had CPR training, you can push through the panic and think clearly enough to act in that situation. It's not about staying calm, it's about knowing you have tools you can use to help and implementing those tools."

As for whether older children in a household can benefit from CPR training, Perl says that any child tasked with babysitting should know the basics. "For teenagers, it can at least teach them to do compressions until emergency services arrive, not even worrying about breaths, just focusing on cardiac function," she says. "And for younger children, it can teach them the chain of command—call 911, then call the parents."

Though you may have picked up a few tips from pop culture (think Michael Scott singing "Staying Alive" while performing CPR on "The Office"), learning CPR from a trained professional is a necessary step. Here are five online CPR classes you and your family members can take at home.

Best Infant CPR Class: Tinyhood

CPR classes

Tinyhood offers expert-led online parenting classes on a wide range of subjects. The Infant CPR course, especially, is great for new parents. Across eight lessons, a neonatal intensive care unit registered nurse and CPR instructor teaches you how to identify an unresponsive baby (age 0-12 months), how to perform compressions, and what to do in different emergency scenarios. Participants are allowed to review the course for up to two years after purchasing it in order to refresh their memory. Tinyhood also offers classes on Infant Choking, Child CPR, and Child Choking (for ages 1-12).

Based on more than 3,400 reviews, the Tinyhood Infant CPR class has an average of 5 stars out of 5. One reviewer wrote, "Amazing class—the instructions were exceptionally clear. Instructor was fantastic and the graphics were incredibly helpful."

To buy: Tinyhood annual membership, $12.95 per month; tinyhood.com

Best CPR Class for Students: ProTrainings

CPR classes

Parents aren't the only members of a household who can help in an emergency. ProTrainings offers a course for students called Community CPR, which teaches how to perform CPR on infants, children, and adults. The first part of the class can be completed at your own pace, and the second part involves a 30 to 45-minute skill evaluation with an instructor. The best part: You don't have to pay until you successfully pass the course.

ProTrainings has an average 4.69 out of 5 stars from reviewers on the Better Business Bureau website. "This is a wonderful option for those who need to or want to refresh their First Aid/CPR/AED skills and/or certification but do not have the time or money to do a traditional eight-hour in-person class," one satisfied customer wrote. "They clearly and accurately address the current standards and protocols, in line with the American Heart Association, and clearly highlight any new changes to those standards."

To buy: ProTrainings Community CPR class, $39.95; protrainings.com

Best Professional Training CPR Class: SimpleCPR

CPR classes
Simple CPR

If you're seeking a slightly more advanced CPR class, SimpleCPR offers a course for Basic Life Support (BLS) Professional Training that meets healthcare provider standards. This 60-minute online class covers topics like choking, compression CPR, and how to recognize a heart attack, among other things, and awards participants with a two-year nationally accredited BLS certification—which is accepted in all 50 states (plus Canada) and can be applied toward healthcare-related jobs.

Out of 365 reviews, 362 of them gave this class 5 out of 5 stars. One reviewer wrote that the training "was easy to follow and understand" and allows users to "stop when needed and return to it."

To buy: BLS Professional CPR training, $19.95; simplecpr.com

Best CPR Class for Extended Family Members: American Red Cross

CPR classes
American Red Cross

The American Red Cross offers a two-and-a-half-hour Child and Baby First Aid/CPR/AED online class that is ideal for grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and anyone else who may be babysitting your child from time to time. This particular course features virtual simulations to create "real-world" emergency scenarios, which are designed to help participants make quick and thoughtful decisions. You'll need a mobile, desktop, or tablet with high-speed internet connection to complete the class (it's not compatible with Internet Explorer), and you can start and stop as you please.

The course has an average 4.2 stars out of 5, with one reviewer writing, "I wanted to update my knowledge and skills in emergency procedures, specifically for infants and children as I am about to become a grandparent... [This class] gave me opportunities to practice these skills using scenarios that really make you think."."

To buy: Child and Baby First Aid/CPR/AED class, $35; redcross.org

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