Critical knowledge can save a young life
If you’re a parent or someone who takes care of young children, you probably think about their safety constantly. Whether they’re just crawling, taking their first steps, or ready to hop on a bike, you’re filled with a little trepidation about what could possibly hurt them.
This is why it’s always good to plan ahead. And while you may have done plenty of baby-proofing and taken other precautions, would you know how to respond in a real emergency?
According to statistics from the American Heart Association (AHA), over 7,000 children suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year. For kids under the age of one, choking and suffocation is the leading causes.
Sadly, only about six percent of infants survive. Those numbers could be much better if parents and caregivers know CPR. It’s important to realize, however, that while similar, CPR for adults isn’t exactly the same as it is for children. Let’s go over the differences:
Before beginning CPR
For someone of any age, the first thing to do is assess the situation and see if they are okay. For adults, you’re supposed to shake or tap them, and you can do the same – although a little more gently – for kids. However, infants should never be shaken. Instead, you can flick the bottom of their feet to get a reaction.
If the person is unresponsive, you’ll need to do CPR. If you’re with someone, have them call 911. However, if you are alone, you will need to start CPR immediately. You should perform it for two minutes on a child or infant before making a call.
1. Airway management
With the child or infant lying on their back, you’ll want to tilt their head back a little and lift the chin. For 10 seconds or less, listen carefully to determine if the child is breathing. If they’re not, take a look inside their mouth; it’s possible something is blocking their airway. If you don’t see anything, move on to step two.
2. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
When doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on an adult, you would pinch the nose and breathe into their mouth. The same is true for children. But because infants are so much smaller, you will need to put your mouth over both their nose and mouth.
For both children and infants, you should first give two rescue breaths. If there is still no response, it’s time for compressions.
3. Chest Compressions
Compressions for adults and children are pretty much the same; you’ll put the heel of one hand on the center of their chest, the heel of your other hand on top of that one, and lace together your fingers. For smaller children, it may be easy just to use one hand. Do 30 fast compressions, going about two inches deep.
When doing compressions on infants, just use two fingers, placed about one finger length below the nipple line. Do the same number of compressions, but only go about 1.5 inches deep.
4. Keep going
After the compressions, you’ll give two more rescue breaths and then repeat the process until either the child starts breathing or a trained professional can take over. If you are in an area with an AED, you’ll need to stop performing CPR while that is being administered.
What about hands-only CPR?
Recently the AHA re-examined their CPR guidelines and decided that in many instances, mouth-to-mouth might not be necessary and just doing compressions would be as effective. However, when it comes to children, standard CPR should still be used. This is because a lack of respiration is commonly the cause of cardiac arrest in children and infants, meaning they are likely deprived of oxygen.
Get certified for your family
While familiarizing yourself with the basics can be a big help, getting hands-on training will enable you to know exactly what to do if you need to perform CPR. At One Beat, you’ll be trained by experienced first responders in CPR as well as the use of AEDs.
Take a look at our classes to find a time that fits into your schedule.