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The Dramatic Differences Between Adult, Child and Infant CPR

Sep 10, 2008
CPR: A Lifesaving Lesson

Imagine you go to your parent's house for a wonderful family dinner. Everyone is gathered in the kitchen talking, enjoying the evening, when suddenly your Mother starts mentioning that she isn't feeling well. Shrugging it off (as most women do) she continues to cook until that fateful moment when she falls to the floor. Out cold and not breathing, the next few minutes are crucial to the survival of your Mother, would you know what to do to help her?

Sadly the above scenario happens all the time in homes across North America. Sometimes it is our parents or grandparents that need help and sometimes it is our children or babies. There is a thin line between life and death and minutes matter when it comes to recovery.

Statistics show that the average response time for an ambulance is more than eight minutes, while brain damage and permanent disability can occur only four to six minutes after your loved one stops breathing. This is the primary reason why everyone should learn proper CPR techniques to administer in times of emergency.

What better gift could you give your family than the ability to save a life?

What Is CPR?

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It is the act of manually keeping the heart and lungs going (and hopefully restarting them) for someone who has suffered trauma.
While a lot of people are now familiar with the steps involved in adult CPR, many people still are not aware that for children and infants the procedure is performed differently.

Infants, Children And Adults

Obviously there are drastic differences between the physiology of an adult and that of a child or infant. This is the reason why CPR also has to be altered in order to be effective.

The first major difference when administering CPR is at what stage you call 911 if you're the only person on the scene. It is incredibly frightening to be alone when tragedy strikes but this is quite a common occurrence.

* In this situation, for adults, it is better to call 911 before you begin CPR.

* If it is a child or infant then begin CPR immediately and call 911 after you have tried resuscitation for at least one to two minutes.

The reason for this difference is that children are much more resilient than adults and it has been shown that they recover better if worked on right away.

Another major difference when performing CPR on a child or infant has to do with the head position when attempting mouth-to-mouth. Be very careful not to tilt a child's head back too far. They have fragile airways and in the case of infants you can actually block the airway if you do this. For infants you tilt the head into the 'sniffer's position'. Just far enough back for the baby to look like it is sniffing the air.


Where to check for a pulse also differs between adults, children and infants.

- In infants you look for the brachial artery located inside of the upper arm.
- In children you check the carotid artery located in the neck.
- In adults you check the carotid artery.

Compression pressure and techniques also vary depending on the age of the victim. If you used adult compressions on an infant you would kill them. This is the reason why it is so important to learn proper CPR techniques from reputable training facilities. Places where the teachers can demonstrate the difference between adult, child and infant CPR routines.

In the end knowledge saves lives. Take a proper course today!
About the Author
Lifesaver 101 delivers First Aid & CPR Training in Toronto and Sudbury
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