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What Every Parent Should Know: Infant & Toddler CPR

Matthew Harrington, EMT-D


One of the best things to do as a parent is to learn CPR. If you are a new parent it is suggested that you learn and know CPR. In this document I will tell you how Infant/Pediatric CPR in done, But you must understand the I am not a certified CPR instructor, and in order to understand completely how CPR is performed and how it works is to take the CPR course. To find out where and when the next CPR course is offered contact your local Fire Dept.

Partial airway obstruction

In a partial airway obstruction, the infant patient is still able to exchange air past the obstruction, is generally found sitting up and alert. These children often instinctively assume positions on their own that allow for the best possible air exchange around the obstuction. However they will appear panicked. Signs of a partial airway obstruction are Stridor or wheezing on inspiration, noisy breathing, strong cough, pink skin color. Allow the child to remain in a comfortable position. DO NOT forcibly lay the child down, as you may worsen the obstruction, DO NOT agitate the child, call for an ambulance as soon as possible.

Airway obstruction

Infants with complete airway obstructions must be immediately recognized ant treated. The same holds true for the partial airway obstruction with out air exchange adequate to sustain life. The first step is to check responsiveness. To do this, flick your baby's foot or pinch the ear. Signs that you look for to tell if the airway is obstructed is if the baby is turning blue, not crying, weak or ineffective cough, increased breathing difficulties, and loss of consciousness. (The objective behind this is to get the infant to cry; crying is a good thing). You must call 911 and get an ambulance on the way.

Check to see if anything is in the mouth. If there is something in the mouth, you want to remove it. However if it is in the airway do not remove it. ONLY IF YOU ARE SURE YOU CAN'T PUSH THE OBJECT FURTHER INTO THE AIRWAY YOU MAY RETRIEVE IT. If you can not get the object out you then do 5 back blows (in the middle of the back with a pushing motion towards the head) followed by 5 chest thrusts (to do this you must place 2 fingers in the middle of the infants chest and push. (Use the infant's nipples as a reference point; imagine a line connecting the two nipples in the middle of that line is where you want to do the chest compressions). Then you want check the airway to see if the object is dislodged. Then give artificial ventilations ( read below). Repeat this until the object is dislodged or the ambulance has arrived.

Infant CPR

Once again the first step in CPR is check responsiveness. Then check the airway, make should that it is clear of any obstructionand check if the child is breathing You want to look listen and feel, this means having your ear over the mouth while looking at the chest and having you hand on the chest. Most infants are belly breathers, which means you most likely see the belly moving instead of the chest. You immediately want to call 911. If respiration's are absent you want to do the head tilt chin lift method, (tilt the head back while lifting the chin) and give 2 breaths lasting 1 1/2 sec. After completing that you want to check for a pulse, in infant it is best to check the brachial pulse (located just about the elbow) if no pulse in present then do 5 chest compression's. The depth you want to go on the chest compression's is 1/2 to 1 inch. After the compressions are complete you have completed 1 cycle. You want to do 5 cycles and the reassess the child for breathing and or pulse. If neither pulse nor respiration's are present continue CPR completing 5 cycles and reassessing, continue this until help has arrived.

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