Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving technique used when a child's heartbeat or breathing has stopped. Knowing how to perform CPR correctly can significantly improve a child's chances of survival. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to perform CPR on a child (1 year to puberty):
Note: Before attempting CPR, ensure your safety and the safety of the child. If the child is responsive and breathing normally, do not perform CPR. Instead, call for professional medical help if needed.
Step 1: Assess the Situation
Before initiating CPR, make sure the environment is safe for both you and the child. Look for any potential dangers, such as traffic, fire, or electrical hazards, and address them if possible.
Step 2: Check for Responsiveness
Gently tap the child's shoulder and shout loudly, "Are you okay?" Look for any signs of responsiveness, such as movement, blinking, or vocalization. If the child does not respond and is unresponsive, proceed to the next steps.
Step 3: Call for Help
If you are alone, call 911 (or your local emergency number) immediately. If others are present, instruct someone to call 911 while you begin CPR.
Step 4: Check for Breathing
Kneel beside the child and check for breathing. Place your ear near the child's mouth and nose while looking at their chest. Look, listen, and feel for breathing for no more than 10 seconds. If the child is not breathing or only gasping, proceed to CPR.
Step 5: Chest Compressions
Begin chest compressions by following these steps:
- Position the child on their back on a firm surface.
- Place the heel of one hand on the center of the child's chest, just below the nipple line. Place your other hand on top of the first hand, fingers interlocked.
- Position yourself with your shoulders directly over your hands and keep your arms straight.
- Use your upper body weight to compress the chest downward. Push hard and fast, aiming for a compression depth of about 2 inches (5 centimeters). Allow the chest to fully recoil between compressions.
- Perform chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute. You can use the rhythm of the song "Baby Shark" or "Stayin' Alive" as a guideline for the correct pace.
- Continue chest compressions without interruptions until professional help arrives, an automated external defibrillator (AED) becomes available, the child shows signs of life (such as breathing), or you become too fatigued to continue.
Step 6: Rescue Breaths (If Trained)
If you are trained in pediatric CPR and comfortable giving rescue breaths, you can combine chest compressions with rescue breaths. Here's how:
- After every 30 chest compressions, open the child's airway by gently tilting the head back slightly.
- Pinch the child's nose shut with your fingers, and cover their mouth with yours, creating an airtight seal.
- Give two gentle rescue breaths, each lasting about 1 second and making the child's chest rise visibly.
- Resume chest compressions immediately after giving rescue breaths.
Continue this cycle of 30 chest compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths until professional help arrives, an AED becomes available, the child shows signs of life, or you are advised to stop by a healthcare provider.
Step 7: Use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) (If Available)
If an AED is available, follow the instructions provided with the device. AEDs are designed to analyze the child's heart rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electric shock (defibrillation) to restore a normal heart rhythm. Resume CPR immediately after using the AED as directed.
Knowing how to perform CPR on a child is a vital skill that can save lives in emergencies. By following these step-by-step instructions and receiving proper training in pediatric CPR, you can confidently provide assistance in critical situations. Regularly refreshing your CPR skills through training and certification courses ensures that you remain prepared to respond effectively in life-threatening situations.