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11-year-old earns CPR certification

earra Deason, 11, was able to fit in taking a CPR class in April with her busy s

When 11-year-old Cearra Deason begins baby-sitting for the first time this summer she’ll be ready if any dire emergencies come up with the children.

Whether the children may be choking or need to have cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Cearra will be prepared for any unexpected, scary incident.

Cearra, the daughter of Cary and Stacy Deason of rural Brainerd, earned an American Heart Association Heartsavor CPR certification in April and she also took the first aid class offered at Brainerd Community Education.

“If something happens and someone is in trouble I don’t want to just stand there,” said Cearra. “I want to be able to help. I don’t want to panic or freak out that they’re going to die.”

Cearra took the classes because she plans to start baby-sitting this summer and she wants to be comfortable in  her job duties.

By taking the CPR course at age 11, Cearra’s CRP instructor Dianna Jenkins of Nisswa believes she could be the youngest person to have the CPR certification in the Brainerd lakes area.

Jenkins, who is a certified American Heart Association CPR instructor and works independently through Essentia Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center, has taught the community CPR class called Heartsavor, for nearly 30 years. She teaches day care providers, group nursing home people, resort staff and others in the community in Crow Wing, Morrison, Cass and Wadena counties. She also teaches CPR classes to groups out of state.

Jenkins teaches people of all ages, and said age 12 is a good start for children, especially if they’re going to start baby-sitting. Jenkins said seeing more children interested in taking the CPR classes is encouraging. Jenkins said it’s important for the children to know what to do.

“It’s a miracle these kids can do this,” said Jenkins. “We also talk about choking and I also have a first aid class to show people how to help someone.”

Jenkins teaches her students when to use a face mask to give a person mouth-to-mouth to avoid getting any transmitted diseases. Jenkins said the hardest thing for her students — of all ages — to learn is knowing how deep to go for the chest compressions.

“We do 30 compressions and it’s a lot of work,” said Jenkins. “Some people get their whole body into it.

“Another thing that is hard for people to understand is realizing what dead is. I had a friend who’s friend was dead when he hit the floor and I told her that is when you do CPR. For some people it is hard to truly understand what dead is. Once we talk about it in class people have a better understanding and know what death is and how simple it can be to bring someone back to life, even by just doing compressions.”

Jenkins said Cearra fit in the class well.

“She didn’t hesitate and was part of everything we did,” said Jenkins. “She took each step we took. I was very impressed. It’s a good thing for her to learn how to help. She’ll have friends she’ll be able to help. It is very responsible of her and she enjoyed what she was doing.”

Cearra said the toughest thing for her was using the defibrillator.

Stacy Deason said Cearra, the oldest of four children ages 10, 6 and 4, has always been nervous about choking. Deason said if she’d leave for not even 10 minutes that Cearra would worry about one of the children choking.

“I’m glad she took the CPR class,” said Deason, who also took the course with her daughter. “I feel better knowing she is more comfortable if something would happen. It’s good knowledge to have.”

Jenkins said with summer approaching knowing how to do CPR is important as there are more drownings and parties where people are eating and laughing at the same time that could block the airway and they could begin to choke.

The CPR classes are 2 1/2 hours long and are held monthly. For more information on community CPR classes, contact Jenkins at or 963-7949. 

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851.