We have asked many people just that question. The reasons given fall broadly into 3 categories
- Believing that the number of breaths and compressions are different to adult CPR
- Worrying that they might do something wrong
- Concerned that they could hurt the child
All of these concerns are understandable – but not accurate. If you can remember, you should start by giving 5 initial rescue breaths and then using the adult CPR rate of 30 compressions followed by 2 rescue breaths. This should be repeated until help arrives.
If a child needs CPR then they are very poorly indeed. Nothing that you can do at this stage can make the child worse. By attempting to carry out CPR you are trying to circulate oxygenated blood around the child’s body to maintain life until help arrives.
It is possible to bruise or crack ribs when carrying out CPR. If you think that this has happened, just check your position and carry on with the CPR. Cracked or broken ribs can be mended in hospital!
So… in summary, you should never be afraid to carry out CPR on a child. Many children have died in the past because bystanders were frightened that they would do something wrong. When you ring 999 to summon help – Ambulance Control will talk you through what to do. Just do what they tell you and you might save a life.
Featured photo courtesy of Lydiashiningbrightly