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Monday, August 9, 2010

Three differences between child CPR and adult CPR

The first difference has been unfortunately worded in many publications. Students are told "If you discover a child in cardiac arrest, do not call 911 until you have performed five full cycles of 2 breaths and 30 chest compressions." That's not what it means.

The way it's written, it's easy to visualize someone hanging around with a cell phone until the first rescuer get through the first five cycles.

Here's the deal: if you can call 911 while you are running to the victim & put your cell phone on speaker phone, that's fine - you can communicate with the 911 dispatcher while you are performing CPR. The dispatcher might even help you with the CPR by answering any questions you might have. And even if you can't make a speaker phone call, you can have someone else call.

The really important point is "Don't let calling 911 delay the performance of five rounds of 30 & 2 (full) CPR."

The second difference is in the rescue breaths: If you blow into a child's mouth as vigorously as you would blow into an adult's mouth, you run the risk of damaging the child's lungs. The younger the child, the greater the risk. Blow gently while watching both the belly and the chest, and stop blowing as soon as you see any rise.

The third difference is the depth of compressions. For a child, you are going to compress the chest between one third and one half the thickness of the chest at the nipple line, not the 1.5" to 2" you would use for an adult. This means that you might well wind up pressing deeper on a child than on an adult. For a child whose front of chest to back of backbone depth is 9" - that's one and a half dollar bills - you would press 3" to 4.5" inches. For infants, it is beginning to appear that pressing 1/2 the thickness of the chest works better than 1/3 the thickness - especially in very young infants.