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CPR and Choking Emergencies

A 6-year-old child falls unconscious at home; the first thing to do is to quickly call 9-1-1, or get someone to do it. After checking the scene and the child and making sure he or she is lying on a flat and firm surface, proceed by putting the heel of one hand on the center of the child’s chest, and the other hand on the first one, then perform 30 chest compressions by pushing hard and fast (not less than 100 beats per minute) about 1 ½ inches deep. Two consecutive rescue breaths are to be given after the compressions; first, the head is to be tilted back to left the chin up, then pinching the child’s nose shut and completely seal his or her mouth to perform the blows. Perform two consecutive 1 second blows (rescue breaths), making sure the chest clearly rises. Repeat the compressions blows cycle as much as needed, or until the help arrives, or the child starts breathing again, in which case the breathing should be monitored for any condition changes.

A 6-year-old child appears to be choking on a piece of plastic in a park. Start by quickly calling 9-1-1, or get someone to do so, and then check the scene and the child. Get the parents’ consent if they are present, then kneel behind the choking child and bend him or her forward at the waist, then give him or her 5 back blows with the heel of the hand, between the shoulder blades, then proceed by performing 5 abdominal thrusts by placing a fist just above the navel with the thumb side against the middle of the child's abdomen, covering the fist with the second, and giving the 5 upward thrusts. This cycle has to be repeated until the object is forced out and a child can breathe or cough, or until he or she becomes unconscious; in this case the child has to be laid down on a flat and firm surface before tilting his or her head back and performing 2 rescue breaths; perform 30 chest compressions if the chest does not rise with the rescue breaths; if the chest rises, look for and try to remove the blocking object.

Emergency situations almost always arise without warning. In this case people should be ready to quickly react in order to save one’s life, but a life can also be saved by preventing the actual situation from happening and this thanks to advanced planning. A safe playing area should be accommodated for children at home or outside, by making sure to remove any sharp objects that could hurt the child and any small pieces that could cause choking. Also, no child should be left alone without supervision, especially under 8 years old.

In case the prevention is vain, or the incident arises without notice (fainting, unconsciousness), every parent, guardian, every person should be prepared to positively resolve the incident. To do so, a person does not only have to attend special training programs, or watch videos on the internet from trusted websites and organizations (American Red Cross, for example), but also spread the information around and let more people know about it, because not everybody has access to the same resources. In this case sharing the knowledge can be helpful. Sometimes it is just a matter of minutes before a child in distress loses any chance to survival, and not being able to save him or her because one does not know how to do it, would be a complete shame.

In addition to the information covered above, adults could also prevent or minimize any damage caused during emergency situations by teaching their children how to react in such situations, what objects to avoid, and how to stay away from danger. Damage could also be minimized by having enough first aid supplies at home (bandages, aspirin, gloves, etc.) and outside; and also by filling a small card with one or two emergency contact names and numbers, that should, at all times, be kept by the child, either in his bag, or on his coat, so that if anything happens, the parents or tutors could be immediately contacted.

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