When it comes to children, near-death situations can cause parents and guardians to panic rather than keep a level head and approach the problem methodically. It makes sense that, as a parent, you may be too afraid to do anything in hopes of eliminating further complications.
Thankfully, there are ways to prepare for the next choking or drowning incident.
Infant CPR is a life-saving technique critical for the survival chances of children and infants in the event a baby or a toddler has stopped breathing. According to the American Heart Association, only 6.2% of children under 1 survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and get discharged.
With these frightening statistics in mind, it’s no wonder more and more parents and child caregivers are enrolling in infant CPR classes (online courses, blended learning models, or in person).
Continue reading to learn more about the importance of infant CPR, as well as what you can expect to learn in an infant CPR class.
How Are Infant CPR Classes Different From Typical CPR Classes?
As you might already know, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) involves performing chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing — two widely-known CPR techniques to resort to when aiding an unconscious infant, child, or adult.
The main difference between standard (adult) CPR and infant CPR lies in the pressure of the chest compressions and the positioning of the hands. To perform CPR on adults, you would normally place both palms on the victim’s chest, interlock the fingers, and start pushing downwards at 100-to-120 compression a minute. You would do so to adults and kids weighing over 121 lbs.
When it comes to toddlers, you would only use one hand, whereas performing CPR on a newborn or a child under one year old will require using only two fingers. This distinction is utterly important to know if you’re looking to get employed as a pediatric nurse or a healthcare provider or if you’re simply a concerned parent.
When to Perform CPR on a Child?
Children are naturally more resilient than adults. However, when it comes to sudden cardiac arrests, no one is 100% safe.
When it comes to separating adult from infant CPR, we must understand that the typical scenarios requiring CPR for adults do not necessarily apply to children. In adults, CPR is the go-to resuscitation technique in the event of sudden cardiac arrest, but for children, there are certain nuances to keep in mind.
First and foremost, children and infants would need CPR in the case of respiratory failure, which can lead to cardiac arrest. Next follow several reasons that can lead to a baby or a child experiencing loss of breath:
- Inhalation of smoke
- Extreme asthma
- Suffering an electrical shock
- Heart abnormalities
- Near-drowning or drowning
- Chest injuries
- Trauma to the head
- SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and more.
In each of these cases, a child or a newborn can lose breath and suffer brain damage. While performing CPR in the first couple of minutes, you are allowing the infant or child’s blood flow to circulate to the heart, brain, and other organs. By doing chest compressions, you are forcing oxygenated blood into all vital organs and minimizing the chances of brain damage.
If a child or an infant is unresponsive, and there are no clear signs of breathing, start CPR immediately, but not before dialing 911. To be able to learn everything there is to know about infant CPR, your best option would be to sign up for an infant CPR class, be it online, in person, or through a blended learning model (a combination of in-person and online classes).
For instance, the American Red Cross offers online infant CPR classes costing as little as $37. By signing up for a class like that one, you’ll be getting hands-on skills practice and learning about age requirements in children and infants regarding proper chest compressions, hand placement, mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths, and so on. Not to mention you will feel confident enough to act whenever a situation calls for CPR.
What Can You Expect to Learn in Infant CPR Classes?
The knowledge you’ll gain in an infant CPR can make all the difference for the survival chances of your infant in the event of choking, head trauma, suffocation, and so on. Whether talking about adults or children, each will suffer the same consequence if CPR isn’t administered in time. Worst-case scenario — unadministered CPR can lead to irreparable brain damage and death.
While at a CPR class for infant resuscitation, you’ll learn how to perform the following, among other techniques:
- Rescue breaths
- Hand positioning for chest compressions
- Back blows
- Chest thrusts
- Head and chin positioning
- Breaths-to-compressions ratio for infants.
An infant CPR instructor will thoroughly explain the steps of performing CPR on a child or an infant. The whole process will look something like the examples we’ll provide below. Note that this is a mere example of the action and does not exclude the demonstration done by a professional.
For adult CPR, the following pattern applies:
- Align your shoulders directly over your hands;
- Don’t move your elbows and keep your arms straight;
- Place both palms center-chest;
- Push down hard, compressing the chest at a 100-to-120 rate;
- Let the chest recoil (return to the previous position) before delivering another compression;
- Check if the breathing has been restored.
After a certified instructor explains and demonstrates all of the above (and more), you’ll take a certification exam that will lead you a step closer to acquiring the infant CPR certificate. Once you have it, it will be valid for 2 years after which renewal is due.
On the other hand, if you’re taking up an infant CPR class for your own sake, you won’t have to worry about the validity period of the certificate; otherwise, in the case you’re pursuing a career as a healthcare provider, you will not be able to gain employment unless the CPR certificate is valid.
Why Is It Important for Parents to Know CPR?
Other than medical professionals and healthcare workers, knowing infant CPR is a benefit for parents, too. No one expects their child to struggle for breath, but being prepared for such a scenario can make a huge difference.
New York’s Department of Health unveiled alarming statistics showing at least one child dies from choking on food every five days! And these are all out-of-hospital fatalities that can be tended to at home until medical emergency teams arrive. Be it performing CPR, or the Heimlich maneuver on children, you can help a choking child dislodge the object that’s obstructing their airway all on your own.
As parents, we want to do everything we can to make sure our kids are safe and sound, and by learning infant CPR, we get a step closer to ensuring preparedness in case a dreaded scenario takes place. Moreover, CPR classes will teach you the importance of the first two minutes after a child has become unresponsive or stopped breathing.
Key Takeaway on Infant CPR Classes
Do you know how to act if your child suddenly chokes on food or suffers a chest injury that’s obstructing their airway? If not, you may want to consider learning pediatric CPR.
To give ourselves some peace of mind, signing up for an infant CPR class is the best solution. Other than learning the importance of the first couple of minutes after a child has become unresponsive, infant CPR classes will teach you how to properly perform CPR according to different age requirements.
If you’re looking for employment as a healthcare provider, you can’t get one if you aren’t certified in infant CPR. To cross this requirement off your list, you have to attend a CPR class (online, in person, or through a blended learning model), and pass the certification exam to get the certificate. Once you do, it will be valid for two whole years before needing renewal.If your CPR certification card is past its expiration date, check the latest renewal policies — the American Heart Association (AHA) frequently updates the renewal processes and offers discounts to certain profiles and candidates.