We do not pray for emergency cases, but it is important for every parent to learn some basic lifesaving techniques.
CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is a lifesaving procedure that is done when a child’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped. This may happen after drowning, suffocation, choking, or an injury.
- Rescue breathing: Provides oxygen to a child’s lungs.
- Chest compressions: Keeps the child’s blood circulating.
Permanent brain damage or death can occur within minutes if a child’s blood flow stops. So, you must continue CPR until the child’s heartbeat and breathing return, or trained medical help arrives.
CPR should be done if the child has any of the following symptoms:
- Check for alertness. Shake or tap the child gently. See if the child moves or makes a noise. Shout, “Are you okay?”
If there is no response, shout for help. Do not leave the child alone until you have done CPR for at least 2 minutes.
If you are alone, shout loudly for help and begin CPR. After doing CPR for about 2 minutes, if no help has arrived, carry the child with you to the nearest hospital.
Carefully place the child on their back. If there is a chance the child has a spinal injury, two people should move the child to prevent the head and neck from twisting.
Perform chest compressions:
•Place the heel of one hand on the breastbone — just below the nipples. Make sure your heel is not at the very end of the breastbone.
•Keep your other hand on the child’s forehead, keeping the head tilted back.
•Press down on the child’s chest so that it compresses about 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the chest.
•Give 30 chest compressions. Each time, let the chest rise completely. These compressions should be fast and hard with no pausing. Count the 30 compressions quickly: “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30, off”.
- Open the airway. Lift up the chin with one hand. At the same time, tilt the head by pushing down on the forehead with the other hand.
Look, listen, and feel for breathing. Place your ear close to the child’s mouth and nose. Watch for chest movement.
If the child is not breathing:
•Cover the child’s mouth tightly with your mouth.
•Pinch the nose closed.
•Keep the chin lifted and head tilted.
•Give two rescue breaths. Each breath should take about a second and make the chest rise.
- After about 2 minutes of CPR, if the child still does not have normal breathing, coughing, or any movement, go to the hospital or if you are a Lagos resident, call 767 or 112.
Repeat rescue breathing and chest compressions until the child recovers or help arrives.
If the child starts breathing again, place him/her in the recovery position. Keep checking for breathing until help arrives.
If you think the child has a spinal injury, pull the jaw forward without moving the head or neck. DO NOT let the mouth close.
If the child has signs of normal breathing, coughing, or movement, DO NOT begin chest compressions. Doing so may cause the heart to stop beating.
Most children need CPR because of a preventable accident. The following tips may help prevent an accident:
- Teach your children the basic principles of family safety.
Teach your child to swim.
Teach your child to watch for cars and how to ride a bicycle safely.
Make sure you follow the guidelines for using children’s car seats.
Teach your child firearm safety.
Teach your child the meaning of “don’t touch.”
Never underestimate what a child can do. Think about what the child may get into next, and be ready.
Choose age-appropriate toys. Don’t give small children toys that are heavy or fragile. Inspect toys for loose parts, sharp edges, loose batteries & other hazards.
Supervise children carefully, particularly around water, near furniture & sockets.
-American Red Cross. Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED Ready Reference. Revised 6/14. Dallas, TX: American Red Cross; 2014.
-St John Ambulance
-Raising Children, Australia