When sudden cardiac arrest occurs, it is important to keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and vital organs, so it’s vital that bystanders start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) along with calling emergency services and using an automated external defibrillator (AED) to restart the heart. However, performing CPR on an infant or child is different to performing it on an adult. Here’s some insight into the different forms of CPR and how to apply them.
Firstly, if you are ever in a situation where CPR is needed, contact emergency services first so that responders can reach you as quickly as possible. They can also stay on the line with you, helping you through the situation.
Adult CPR is the version that most of us are familiar with, whether it’s from TV or a First Aid course. Here’s what to do:
Hands-Only CPR (Bystander CPR)
- First, place the heel of your hand, palm down, on the centre of the person’s chest. Place your other hand on top, interlocking your fingers.
- Position yourself with your arms straight, elbows locked, and your shoulders in line with your hands.
- Use your body weight to press straight down, compressing the chest by 5-6cm.
- Keeping your hands on the chest, release the compression and allow the chest to return to its normal position.
- Repeat at 100 compressions per minute, keeping a rhythm in your head. A good song to follow in your mind is Stayin’ Alive from the Bee Gees.
This will keep the oxygenated blood that is in the person’s body flowing to vital organs.
Due to their different physiology, bone density and musculature, child CPR should be practiced on children up to the age of 8.
- Chest compressions should be much more gentle, compressing the chest 3-4 cm.
- For small children, only use one hand to perform chest compressions.
Because of their small and fragile body, it is especially critical for CPR to begin as quickly as possible on infants who are not breathing.
- Place two fingers on the centre of the chest and compressing firmly at 100-120 beats per minute, compressing the chest by 3cm.
- Fully remove your fingers or hand from the chest between each compression to allow the chest to expand back to its normal position.
Always Call for an AED
In addition to calling emergency services immediately, it is vital to call for an AED, as this is the only way to restore normal heart rhythm in an adult or child in SCA. AEDs are typically available in public spaces as well as schools, factories, medical clinics, gyms and office buildings.
AEDs generally have settings for both adults and children, which come with different electrode pads to supply the defibrillation. These AEDs will also instruct you through the CPR process itself, helping you keep rhythm and then alerting you to stand clear when the shock is supplied.
If you are working with an AED that does not have a paediatric setting, use it anyway. For infants and small children under 8 years old, place a single electrode pad in the centre of their chest and one on the back, aligned with the front pad, and follow the voice prompts from the AED.
AED and CPR Training for Everyone
DefibsPlus is a leading supplier of AEDs, AED batteries and storage in Australia. In addition to helping you find the right defibrillator for your home or organisation, we can also supply you with defibrillator and CPR training through our HeartSmart program, empowering you to act and save a life in the event of SCA.