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CPR, CCR, and AED Emergency Information for Parents and Teachers

I. ReidEmergency information written by I. Reid of the Bunnicula post and the Dancing Dime post fame is back with a new post about emergency situations for caregivers. This post is not intended as medical advice.  In an emergency, call 911 and follow the directions of the dispatcher, paramedics, and trained medical personnel.  In other cases, seek and follow the advice of trained medical personnel.  This post is intended to raise awareness of first aid and provide accurate information.

Dear Reader,

I highly advise my dear Readers to take an updated first aid course from their local community education, the Red Cross, or other medical providers who may offer classes in the area.  There have been a lot of advances in the medical field and previous training may now be outdated.  Or more scarily, you may believe in inaccurate information that is floating out there in cyberspace.

Carolyn who writes the Wise Owl Factory blog has just been certified in First Aid and CPR Pediatric through adult levels. She asked her daughter, I-Ried, to write this post to help convince others of the importance of knowing this information. Thanks!

By I-Reid

Dear Reader, I cannot recommend taking a first aid and CPR course enough.  You never know what life will throw at you, but if you are trained, you are more prepared.  This is especially important if you are an outdoors family who may be some distance away from a Trauma 1 medical facility.  Please don’t forget creating first aid kits too.

gif_first-aid-kitAlso recommended is downloading the Red Cross First Aid app.  While the best advice is always directly from licensed medical personnel, first aid can help keep someone alive until said licensed and trained medical personnel are on site.

CPR and CCR are two important life-saving skills that everyone should learn.  More importantly, they are skills everyone can learn.  Every day, 911 dispatchers across the country instruct people in CPR and CCR over the phone.

CPR is Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. It involves chest compressions and rescue breaths.

CCR is Cardio-Cerebral Resuscitation and involves chest compressions only.

In deploying CPR or CCR, the most important factor is the effectiveness of the actions you take.  When it comes to chest compressions this means they are deep and fast.  Depth will depend on the age of the unfortunate victim and fast is most ideally about 155 compressions per minute.  Think BeeGee’s Staying Alive.

One thing never to do is to take a fist and punch the chest for the first compression, as you may have seen done in movies and television shows.  This is not an appropriate chest compression nor is it medically effective.  Hollywood, thank you for doing the average person a disservice by perpetuating misinformation.

Rescue breaths actually only need to be quite shallow to be effective.  Too much force will drive air into the stomach which leads to the risk of vomiting and choking.  A little breath is actually quite effective.

As mentioned previously, the age of the victim will determine the depth of the chest compression.  Infants are up to 12 months old.  Children are 12 months old to 8 years old.  Adults are 8 years plus.  Yes, you read that correctly, 8 years plus.

The whole point of both CPR and CCR is to keep oxygen flowing to the brain.  Blood retains a certain amount of oxygen for a period of time.  It’s a matter of keeping the blood circulating to deliver the oxygen.  The chest compressions mimic the pump action of the heart and create blood pressure and circulation.  This is why the depth of compressions is important.  Too shallow of compressions will not generate appropriate blood pressure and circulation.  Ideally, chest compressions may stimulate the heart back into restarting or at least to generate enough electrical activity that an AED will deliver a shock.

Another factor that can improve the chance of survival when the heart stops is the use of an Automated External Defibrillator or AED.  Once again AEDs can be used by anyone including those without training.

AEDs may be either semi-automatic or fully automatic.  Semi-automatic means when a shock is advised, the device will charge, the button will flash, but to discharge the shock, someone has to press the button.  Fully automated means the machine will do all this itself.  AEDs both talk and display text, whether they are semi- or fully automatic.

Some AEDs come with a child modification kit.  All this does is deliver a slightly less powerful shock but a regular AED may be used on a victim of any age.

The 1 thing that will change with the age of the victim is the placement of the pads.  Follow the directions on the pads for an adult, or if there are child-sized pads, follow the directions for a child.  The placement of the pads is extremely important since if a shock is advised, the shock will go between the pads.  This means the heart needs to be in-between the pads.

Also to place the pads, the victim’s chest must be bare.  This means no clothing or undergarments.  Hence the use of white sheets to give a victim privacy in certain areas.  Also sometimes hair must be removed from the chest to make the pad adhere properly.

AEDs are powerful enough to deliver a shock to a heart but they are not strong enough to kill a bystander.  If you happen to be touching the victim when a shock is delivered, your heart will generally not stop.  It will be unpleasant but the worst effect is that the full shock won’t have been delivered to the person requiring the shock.  Also, the AED will not deliver subsequent shocks to a heart that regains normal electrical patterns so there is not a risk to leaving the AED attached to a victim who regains consciousness.

In general, only a licensed doctor should remove an AED once deployed.  This means when the ambulance comes to pick up the victim and transport to the hospital, the AED goes with them.

Dear Reader, I hope you never need to use this information, but it is better to be aware that these sorts of events happen.  More importantly, if you take a first aid course and have been trained, you are more likely to immediately jump into action than to freeze and panic.

Another area that has a lot of misinformation out there is choking.  Back slaps are not advised, as they are ineffective.  What is effective is a thrust with the heel of the palm, but whether to the back, chest, or diaphragm depends on the age and condition of the victim.

If you live by the ocean, look up reliable first aid advice from the Mayo Clinic, Red Cross, or your doctor, on jellyfish stings as this is another area with more misinformation than reliable information.

Dear Reader, I cannot recommend taking a first aid and CPR course enough.  You never know what life will throw at you, but if you are trained, you are more prepared.  This is especially important if you are an outdoors family who may be some distance away from a Trauma 1 medical facility.  Please don’t forget creating first aid kits too.

Also recommended is downloading the Red Cross First Aid app.  While the best advice is always directly from licensed medical personnel, first aid can help keep someone alive until said licensed and trained medical personnel are on site.

Not affiliated links. This website is not responsible for the content of external links:

http://www.mayoclinic.org

http://www.redcross.org

Yours Sincerely,

I. Reid

CRR-CCR-AED-Emergency-Information-for-Caregivers

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