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KID EMERGENCIES

What Parents Need to Know About CPR

By Dr. Martin Belson,
Pediatrician

CBN.com What is CPR?

  • CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is an important skill for parents to learn.
  • When performed correctly, CPR can save a child’s life by restoring breathing and circulation until advanced life support can be given by medical care providers.
  • CPR may be necessary for children during many different emergencies, including accidents, near-drowning, smoke inhalation, choking on a foreign object (e.g., toy, food), allergic reactions, and suspected sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • It is therefore especially important for parents to learn CPR if they have a pool, spend a lot time on the water, or have a premature baby or child with some other chronic medical condition.
  • It is strongly recommended that you learn how to perform CPR by taking a course.
  • In a CPR or basic life support (BLS) course, participants learn how to recognize an emergency, help a choking child, learn techniques for determining if breathing or circulation is adequate in infants and children, and learn how to give rescue breaths and do chest compressions.


What are the basic parts of CPR?
1. The three basic parts of CPR are usually thought of as the ABCs:


A is for Airway, which consists of positioning a child, opening his or her airway, and making sure it isn’t blocked.


B is for Breathing, which consist of breathing for the child by forcing air into his or her lungs (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation).


C is for Circulation and involves performing chest compressions, which is the way that you restore a child’s blood flow when his or her heart has stopped.

  • A CPR course will teach you how to perform chest compressions in infants and children and how to coordinate the compressions with rescue breathing.
  • Whenever CPR is needed in children, you should provide one minute of care and then call 911 or the emergency number for assistance.


Have there been any new recommendations on how CPR should be done?
In 2005 the American Heart Association published some changes to their guidelines for CPR. For example:


1) The new guidelines emphasize and make recommendations to improve delivery of effective chest compressions – press harder and longer.

2) For a single rescuer, the number of times you give a chest compression to each breath given has changed to 2 breaths given, then 30 compressions, then 2 breaths and so on (a 30:2 ratio) for infants through adults. (The old recommendation involved a 15:2 ratio for adults and 5:1 ratio for infants and children.)


Where can you learn CPR?

  • You can call the American Heart Association at 1-877-242-4277 (1-877-AHA-4CPR) to find out about CPR courses in your area.
  • You can also call your local hospital or fire department to check on CPR classes.


What does a CPR course consist of?

  • The American Heart Association’s basic life support course that includes CPR is taught in one full day or two half days. The courses teach CPR procedures for infants (under 1 year old), children (1 to 8 years old), and adults.
  • Participants practice the techniques on mannequins and have opportunities to ask questions and get individualized instruction. The final test for the course is a combination of demonstrating CPR skills and taking a written test.

Go for it! You may save a life.


Dr. Martin Belson with his girls

Dr. Martin Belson ("Dr. Marty") is a board certified pediatrician and pediatric emergency physician, board certified medical toxicologist, and the former president of the Greater Atlanta Pediatric Society. His most important job is raising his daughters, Brooke and Anna. His Web site, www.kidemergencies.com, is a user-friendly resource for moms and dads that details children's health emergencies and poisonings.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Marty.

 

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