Would you, or your partner, know what to do if your baby stopped breathing? Not many parents would be prepared for that emergency, and hopefully you will never find yourself having to perform chest compressions or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on your baby; but if it happens, you will be glad you have had the appropriate training. It is something that everyone who works or has children should know. The courses are only a day or weekend long, relevant, affordable and easily accessible.
What will you learn in the course?
In an infant CPR course, more than just proper resuscitation techniques are covered. The instructor will explain the importance of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and, in this safe space, talk about the mistakes that can occur if CPR is administered incorrectly or when it isn’t necessary. For example, children don’t usually need CPR for the same reasons as adults.
What are some of the situations where infant CPR may be needed?
With an adult, CPR is usually needed because of a heart attack, but with infants or young children, the resuscitation is because of an accident or a respiratory issue that leads to cardiac arrest. Suffocation, asthma attacks, choking, poisoning, smoke inhalation, electrical shock, head trauma and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) are common causes for a child to become suddenly unable to breathe.
How does CPR help?
All the vital organs need a steady flow of oxygen-rich blood and if it falters, then CPR restores the flow to the brain, the heart, and other vitals. Without it, brain damage can occur in four minutes and death can follow in as little as four to six minutes after that. CPR can get baby breathing again or buy some time until the paramedics arrive.
Incorrectly performed CPR can be harmful
Taking a class in CPR teaches you how to recognize when it’s the right time to attempt resuscitation, the proper techniques, and how to know the signs that baby is not breathing. The classes are more helpful than trying to learn on your own from a book or computer, because they give the caregivers a chance to practice on a baby-sized mannequin, and try out the techniques once learned. The information is available from books and online, but you will feel more confident trying it in a classroom setting.
How to find a class
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your new baby is to become trained and familiar with first aid so that you are aware and comfortable acting should something go wrong. Infant CPR courses are readily available, easy to find, and open to parents, and those who work with children.
Find classes through your doctor’s office, public library, baby item stores, or parenting support groups. Courses are also available through Edmonton First Aid, Spectrum Safety Services, St. John Ambulance, and many other first aid course providers.
For more information on this, or for any issue where you are concerned about your baby’s safety, contact the Pregnancy Care Centre.