With any luck, most people will never find themselves in a situation calling for CPR, the Heimlich maneuver or urgent treatment of a snake bite. But if it happens, YouTube will now provide quick access to step-by-step first aid videos made by hospitals and trustworthy health organizations.
On Wednesday, YouTube said the short instructional videos will be pinned at the top of common search results for acute health emergencies including bleeding, choking, heart attacks, seizures and opioid overdoses.
The new feature, known as First Aid Information Shelves, is intended to arm users with critical life-saving knowledge shared by Mass General Brigham, the Mexican Red Cross and the American Heart Association, the three health organizations that created the videos YouTube is promoting.
For example, in a video YouTube is promoting in searches for choking, a Mass General Brigham doctor walks viewers through when to perform the Heimlich maneuver and the correct hand placement for delivering abdominal thrusts.
YouTube also partnered with the American Heart Association on a free CPR course that begins with a video featuring professional football player Damar Hamlin, whose on-field cardiac emergency last year stunned onlookers and drove renewed interest in CPR, according to the heart-health group.
YouTube’s move to elevate credible and actionable health information could make it a more reliable tool in a medical emergency and limit the spread of health misinformation.
While the platform had previously provided health videos from authoritative sources in response to searches for acute conditions, the company said, this will be the first time YouTube has prioritized videos featuring advice that can be put to immediate use.
“Today’s announcement is a significant step forward to increase access to authoritative resources on first aid care, especially for those without medical training at times when they may need it most,” YouTube said in a blog post.
Many of the videos are available in English and Spanish, YouTube said, and support for other languages will be added in the future.