CPR for Children: How is it Different?

Performing CPR on a child is going to be a challenging and difficult situation for even the most experienced of health care professionals, however by being trained and certified in CPR, you can help create a situation that gives the child victim the best possible outcome for survival when having a cardiac event requiring CPR.  There are several differences for a child victim compared to an adult victim from compression technique to ventilations performed and it is of the utmost importance to know and understand the differences.

Adult victim compressions are performed by a technique of placing one hand over the other on the lower half of the breast bone and compressing 2 inches or 5 cm of depth into the chest, while in a child the landmark of the lower half of the breast bone is the same, the technique changes to a single hand and only 1 ½ inches of depth for the compressions. The reason for the change is the anatomy of the child versus the adult. Obviously, a child is smaller in size than an adult, so the depth does not need to be as deep to effectively perform compressions. By doing compressions too deep, the rescuer could actually cause harm. 

The second difference is the ventilation process. When ventilating an adult victim, the rescuer is going to have to use more air flow to correctly achieve chest rise and fall compared to a child where less air flow will have to be used to complete chest rise and fall. Once again, this change has to do with the anatomy of the child victim’s lung capacity is less than that of an adult. These changes are slight, but are important to remember, because we want to achieve the best possible outcome for any victim we may be assisting. 

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