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CPR Basics for Child Safety

Pregnancy & Toddlers • by Paul de Beyer • 10 October 2019
Few things in life are scarier to a parent than seeing their child in distress. One of the ways current, new and expecting parents can prepare themselves for an emergency is to learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

CPR is a technique that helps restore oxygen-rich blood flow to the heart, brain and other vital organs; until proper healthcare professionals can arrive to administer advanced life support. Without the combination of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, permanent brain damage or even death can occur in less than eight minutes.

Common emergencies where CPR can save a life include:

CPR is most successful when it’s started as soon as possible. However, before performing CPR on your child or another person, it’s of utmost importance to check if it’s the right course of action. To do this, you need to check if the child or person in distress has stopped breathing or if their heart has stopped beating and circulating blood.

Here’s how to check:

The first thing to check is if it’s safe for you to approach the injured child or person. Check the immediate area for any dangers such as fire, exposed wires, moving vehicles or fast, running water.

Once you think it’s safe to approach the victim, check to see if:

  1. their eyes are open and moving;
  2. sounds or noises are coming from their mouth;
  3. their chest is moving in a normal fashion; and
  4. if there are any signs of movement in their arms, legs or feet.

To check a baby or a small child, rub their chest and talk to them calmly but loudly. This is to test their level of responsiveness. If it’s an adult, speak calmly but loudly to get a verbal or physical response. If you receive no response and are sure they’re in distress, begin CPR.
The Three Basic Steps for CPR

  1. A is for Airway
    Before starting, you should check to see if the injured person’s throat or mouth is blocked by anything. This could be their tongue, food or any external object that may have gotten stuck. Clear any obstruction out of the way and position the person correctly on their back.
  2. B is for Breathing
    After 30 chest compressions, you’ll need to apply two hard, firm “rescue breaths” to the victim. These rescue breaths (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) force air into the lungs of the victim, allowing airflow to circulate. You shouldn’t over-inflate the lungs. For a baby, gently cover both the nose and mouth with your mouth and only give two very gentle breaths. In both cases you should see the victim’s chest rise with these breaths.
  3. C is for Compressions
    To keep the blood flowing throughout the body, you need to apply pressure to the centre of the chest and do 30 chest compressions. In the case of a baby, use two or three fingers just below the nipples in the centre of the chest and press down gently about 2-3cm. In an adult, kneel next to them and feel for the bone in the centre of their chest. Place the palm of your hand on this spot, with your other hand on top, lacing your fingers together. Using both hands, press down firmly.

After 30 chest compressions, you’ll need to apply two hard, firm “rescue breaths” to the victim. These rescue breaths (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) force air into the lungs of the victim, allowing airflow to circulate. You shouldn’t over-inflate the lungs. For a baby, gently cover both the nose and mouth with your mouth and only give two very gentle breaths. In both cases you should see the victim’s chest rise with these breaths.

Repeat the 30 chest compressions after every two breaths, aiming for at least 100 compressions per minute. If you get tired, ask someone to swap with you.

Reading up on emergency protocols like CPR is extremely helpful. It helps break down the steps for you and gets you comfortable with the idea of performing CPR. However, attending a CPR course is of utmost importance to fully understand the process properly and is highly encouraged.

Some hospitals in South Africa offer free, basic CPR training to new parents before discharging high-risk babies. If you’re concerned about the cost of hospitalisation, consider talking to one of the GetSavvi Health experts about affordable medical insurance. Simply fill out your details and get all the information you need.

Sources:

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/cpr.html
https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/ages-stages/baby-infant-development-parenting/cpr-why-every-parent-should-know-how-to-do-it/
https://www.lifehealthcare.co.za/news-and-info-hub/latest-news/the-basics-of-baby-cpr/
https://depts.washington.edu/learncpr/infantcpr.html
https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/zm2273

 

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