Climbing trees, riding bicycles and pulling over coffee stools. It is all part and parcel of the inquisitiveness of play that our young children, even our toddlers, get themselves into. But should they fall and knock their heads you could end up with a life and death situation on your hands.
For situations like these and many others when unconsciousness could prevail, knowing CPR and how to administer it on a child is vital. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a procedure which, if performed correctly, could save your child’s life. Now as dramatic as you may think that sounds, in a life and death situation, you will wish you had the skills necessary to help your youngster.
Chest compressions and rescue breaths
Using chest compressions and what is known as rescue breaths, you could bring your child back to life and sustain him until professional medical help arrives. Both the chest compressions and the rescue breaths work in tandem by providing the blood with oxygen to feed his brain and other vital organs. Without oxygen-rich blood circulating to his head, brain damage or even death can occur within a mere eight minutes. It is because of this that should your child need CPR, you need to react immediately.
There are many first aid courses which cover CPR and many parents choose to do this course so that should their child knock himself unconscious they can give him a fighting chance straight away.
CPR is most successful when administered as quickly as possible, but you must first determine if it is necessary. It should only be performed when a person isn’t breathing or circulating blood adequately. CPR should never be administered if the child is bleeding and you haven’t controlled that first.
Control any bleeding
When the bleeding is under control gently place him on his back on a hard surface and tilt the head back slightly to open the air passage. Check that there is nothing blocking the airway. The best position for you to work from is if you kneel on the ground next to the child’s shoulder.
If you are sure he is not breathing, press his nose closed with your thumb and forefinger and give just two short breaths into his mouth. Cover his mouth with your mouth completely.
Place the heel of one of your hands on your child’s breastbone at the centre of his chest. Place your other hand on top of your other hand in preparation of carrying out a chest compression.
To carry out a compression, push down on this area about 5cm. Let his chest return to normal before doing the next one. All in all you will need to do about 30 chest compressions concurrently. Keep these compressions even and regular and when the 30 are up, give another two short breaths into his mouth, remembering to tilt his head back slightly and to press his nose closed.
Half a minute
Each set of compressions and breaths should take no more than half a minute. Repeat this process over and over until professional help arrives. It is vital that you remain calm. Although it could be your child, becoming emotional and stressed out will likely only hamper the CPR process.