Children need CPR with rescue breathing – NOT hands-only

2 Aug

Did you see the latest news about CPR and how effective hands-only CPR is done to the great beat of ‘Staying Alive’? Here is one of the news clips if you missed it.

Yes, CPR can save a life, everyone should learn CPR, but thanks to one study that showed that bystanders are more likely to intervene if they don’t have to do mouth-to-mouth, hands-only CPR has gotten all the press. And it’s a great thing and has a great song (‘Staying Alive’) to help you get the right pace. And it can be very effective for an adult cardiac arrest victim. The problem is, for children and for all drowning victims, it is critical that traditional CPR, including mouth-to-mouth, be performed.

I checked to see what the latest research on the subject is and the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics has the following in an article published May 24, 2010:

CPR Training:  Immediate resuscitation at the site of a submersion incident, even before the arrival of emergency medical services personnel, is an important means of secondary prevention and is associated with a significantly better outcome for children with submersion injury.2,3 For this reason, all parents and caregivers should be trained in infant/child CPR. Initial resuscitative efforts for a drowning victim should include rescue breathing as well as chest compressions when signs of circulation are absent.”Hands-only” CPR is not appropriate for drowning victims. The Heimlich maneuver is not recommended to expel water from the lungs, because positive pressure ventilation by mouth or maskwill accomplish adequate oxygenation.67 Additional CPR information and courses for parents and caregivers is available through the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. Education for health care professionals on resuscitation of pediatric patients is available through American Academy of Pediatrics programs Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and PediatricEducation for Prehospital Professionals (PEPP).

The full text of the article can be found here:

Bottom line – if you have children, learn CPR, the traditional kind with rescue breathing and compressions. I know you wouldn’t have any problem performing mouth-to-mouth on your child if it would save their life – and that’s exactly what they would need.

Protect your child – learn CPR – with rescue breathing.


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