Child CPR: Adjusting Your Approach for Younger Victims
Cardiac arrest can affect individuals of all ages, including children. While the principles of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) apply across age groups, performing CPR on a child requires certain adjustments to ensure their safety and well-being. In this article, we'll guide you through the steps of child CPR, highlighting the differences from adult CPR and emphasizing the importance of being prepared to respond effectively in a child's time of need.
1. Recognition and Assessment
If a child collapses and is unresponsive, shout for help and ensure someone nearby calls emergency services. Check the child's breathing and pulse for no more than 10 seconds. If there's no breathing or only gasping, begin CPR immediately.
2. Hand Placement for Chest Compressions
For child CPR, use the heel of one hand for chest compressions. Place the heel of your hand on the center of the child's chest, just below the nipple line.
3. Compression Depth and Rate
Child CPR requires slightly different compression depths and rates compared to adult CPR. Compress the child's chest to about one-third of its depth, which is typically around 2 inches deep. Aim for a compression rate of about 100-120 compressions per minute.
4. Use of AEDs
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can be used for child victims, but it's essential to use pediatric AED pads if available. If pediatric pads are not available, use adult pads and follow the device's instructions.
5. Rescue Breaths
For child CPR, rescue breaths are essential. Give two rescue breaths after 30 compressions. Ensure a proper seal over the child's mouth and nose, and deliver breaths that make the chest rise visibly.
6. Adjustments for Infants
For infants (children under 1 year old), the approach to CPR is slightly different:
- Hand Placement: Use two fingers to deliver chest compressions. Place them just below the nipple line.
- Compression Depth: Compress the chest to about one-third of its depth, which is typically around 1.5 inches deep.
- Rescue Breaths: For infants, deliver gentle breaths over the mouth and nose, using your mouth to create a seal.
7. Adaptation for Child-Friendly Environments
Performing CPR on a child can be distressing, especially in child-friendly environments such as schools or playgrounds. Encourage someone nearby to help you with tasks like calling for help, finding an AED, or comforting other children present.
8. Training and Preparedness
It's crucial to be prepared for child CPR emergencies by receiving proper training. CPR courses often include both adult and child CPR training, allowing you to build the skills necessary for various age groups.
Child CPR requires adjustments to technique and approach to ensure the safety and well-being of younger victims. By being prepared and knowledgeable about child CPR, you can respond effectively in an emergency and potentially save a child's life. The ability to perform CPR on children is a valuable skill that equips you to take immediate action when every second counts.