No mother ever wants to experience the torment of finding that her precious little one is no longer breathing. Thankfully, as this guide from Carrington.edu points out, it is possible to prevent life-threatening accidents.
Teaching your little one the meaning of the word “no” early on is very important, as is keeping household chemicals out of reach, emptying small pools and buckets of water right away, and teaching older children to put away small toys that could pose a choking hazard.
Because most instances requiring CPR are the result of a preventable accident, keeping your home safe can go a long way in reducing the odds that you will ever need to administer baby CPR to your little one.
Even so, no parent is perfect and you should never rule out the fact that a serious accident may occur either in your home or at someone else’s home. Additionally, cardiac arrest can come about not only as a result of a preventable accident, but also due to food allergies or SIDS. Knowing how to perform CPR can save your child’s life and prevent brain damage.
Master baby CPR skills.
There are many organizations that offer CPR training to the public, including the American Heart Foundation, Red Cross, and the National CPR Foundation. However, you will want to make sure the class you take teaches infant CPR and not just regular CPR, as there are important differences between the two procedures.
While you could attempt to learn the skill on your own, it is recommended that you take an accredited course. Doing so will ensure that you are learning the latest, most effective CPR techniques. Additionally, you will want to repeat the course every two years to ensure that you still know how to apply CPR and so that you can stay abreast of new developments that can increase your efficacy.
Recognize when CPR is needed.
It can be scary to witness your young child have an accident; however, as difficult as it sounds, it is at this time that you need to remain calm above all else.
First, make sure you can actually provide CPR should it be needed. If your child has been electrocuted, use a wooden stick to move your child away from the source of electricity. If your child has strangled him or herself, unwrap the cord from around his or her neck.
Next, check your child to see if he or she is still breathing. A breathing child does not need CPR. If your child is not breathing but his or her heart is beating, wait for a minute before beginning CPR. Many children have breath-holding spells as a result of pain or trauma.
Apply correct CPR techniques.
If your child does not seem to be breathing and you cannot tell if his or her heart is still beating, flick the bottom of the feet to see if there is any bodily response. Alternatively, you can rub your child on the chest (over the breastbone) to see if he or she is able to respond.
If there is no response, begin CPR immediately. If someone is with you, tell this person to call 911. If you are home alone, administer CPR for two minutes before calling 911. After you call for help, go back to your child and continue providing CPR. Continue administering CPR until medical help arrives; do not stop periodically to check if your child is breathing and/or has a detectable heartbeat. In most instances, you will not see spontaneous revival; however, you are increasing the chances of recovery by keeping blood and oxygen circulating to the brain.
If your child is injured in a public place and is over one year old, you may want to yell for someone to bring a defibrillator. Some public places have them and you can use these to help your child’s heart start pumping again.
Hopefully you will never find yourself in a situation that will require you to administer CPR to your baby or young child. Nonetheless, it is important that you know what to do if your child has a serious accident or allergic reaction that requires CPR. Knowing baby CPR can also save the life of another child, be it the child of a relative, friend or even stranger. To paraphrase an old saying, “It is better to know it and not need it than need it and not know it.”
By Audrey Jenkins.
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