In an emergency, every second matters. This is even more true when your child can't breathe or their heart stops. Learning infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, can prepare you to give your child the best chance at recovering from an emergency, whether it be choking, drowning or a breathing problem like asthma.
Choking rescue is the most common emergency in children an adult will need to respond to. Immediate action is needed, and usually it's quite effective.
Performing CPR safely on an infant or child takes specialized, up-to-date knowledge. If it's been many years or you only know how to perform CPR on an adult, now is a good time to learn.
Expectant parents are also encouraged to take this course near the beginning of Mom's third trimester.
Take a class
Doing CPR correctly on infants and children is key. Without taking a class, you can injure a child and use techniques that we’ve learned are not helpful. Often single-session classes are taught by experts who use the latest evidence-based guidelines and are certified through the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Find out what class options are near you.
Children have unique needs
Though adults most commonly need CPR when their heart stops suddenly due to coronary artery disease, children more often need CPR because their breathing stops.
Children have a higher respiratory demand, meaning they breathe faster, so a child with asthma or near drowning might [be] at risk for cardiac arrest.
If a parent or caretaker can start CPR on an infant or child, first responders can take over when they arrive. But until then, those few compressions and breaths could make all the difference.
Not just for parents
Though learning CPR is important for parents, they aren’t the only ones who can benefit.
Grandparents and other caretakers, like babysitters and older siblings, can also learn how to perform CPR. The American Heart Association has no minimum age for taking infant and child CPR classes.
Keeping skills fresh
Hopefully, those who take an infant CPR class won't need to practice it in real life. But any skill that goes unused will be forgotten more easily. It's recommended that people who've taken the class practice on a stuffed animal or doll.
The American Heart Associations course completion cards are valid for two years, so it's a good idea to take a refresher course if it's been awhile. Plus, you may find that techniques have improved since your last class.
The goal is simple: We want everyone to learn how to save a life.