If the time should ever come that a child you love becomes unconscious and stops breathing, you only have a few short minutes before brain damage, or even death ensues. Do you know what to do if a child needs CPR?
CPR could prevent the deaths of thousands of children every year. For this reason, every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle and child caregiver should be certified in CPR. Every day children come in contact with dangers that could lead to loss of consciousness or an interruption in breathing. Such threats to a child’s health include:
- Choking while eating or taking vitamins.
- Allergic reaction to foods or medications.
- Bleeding from accidents in the home or automobile.
- Drowning, including in the home bathtub.
- Injury or trauma from a fall.
- Asthma attacks or other breathing issues.
- Electrical shock from common household electrical items.
- Assessing an Unresponsive Child
Child CPR is performed on a child from ages one to eight, according to the American Heart Association.
If you suspect your child is unresponsive, tap the child on the shoulder and gently shake, while speaking in a loud voice and asking “Are you okay?” If this does not wake the child and the child is not crying or breathing, you must begin child CPR.
It is important to note that if a child is unresponsive and you are alone, you should do CPR for a total of 2 minutes before calling 911. If someone is with you or within shouting distance, you should begin CPR and tell them to quickly call 911. Be sure that whomever you tell to call 911 acknowledges your request and comes back to tell you after they have called.
Performing Child CPR
Child CPR should be performed with the child laying on a hard, flat surface. If the child has been involved in an injury or accident that may have harmed the head, neck or back, be sure to move the child carefully and as little as possible to prevent further injury.
Step 1- Child Chest Compressions
- Kneel down next to the child’s chest
- Place the heel of the palm on the center of the chest in line with the victim’s nipples and use only the palm of one hand, arm and back straight.
- Chest compressions are delivered at a depth of 1/3 to 1/2 the child's chest diameter, or about 2 inches.
- Deliver 30 compressions, at a rate of approximately 100 compressions per minute. It is important to keep in mind that the rate of 100 compressions per minute is relatively fast and should be done without pausing or stopping.
- Open the child’s airway by gently tilting the head backward and carefully lifting the chin up slightly. This is called a “head tilt-chin lift.”
- Look, listen and feel for the child’s breath. If the child is not breathing at all, or is gasping for air or breathing inadequately, you must deliver 2 rescue breaths.
- Rescue breaths are delivered by covering the child’s mouth tightly with your mouth and giving 2 breaths of air. The rescue breaths should be forceful enough to cause the child’s chest to rise.
- If the chest does not rise, try to re-position the head and neck and try again.
- After 2 breaths, deliver another 30 chest compressions.
Continue to provide 30 chest compressions followed by Step 2 process until the child becomes responsive (is breathing and has a pulse) or until professional help arrives.
Being trained in CPR and first aid can be invaluable when a child is unconscious. These life-saving techniques can help save the child during the emergency situations. Learning CPR is very easy and anyone can get CPR certified and become trained in first aid. Knowing what to do in an emergency medical situation can make a big difference between the life and death. So, find out a trusted organization who offers the AHA approved CPR training and certification program.