CPR or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is essentially mouth-to-mouth respiration coupled with chest compression. It can keep a person alive until more advanced procedures arrive. A child or adult given CPR doubles his chance of survival. While CPR is usually given in cases of heart attacks in adults, the need for CPR in children is usually in cases of electric shock, drowning, suffocation caused by smoke inhalation or choking, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or accidents.
If you suddenly realise that your baby is having trouble breathing, here's what you should do:
Take about four seconds to figure out why your baby is not breathing. If he is choking on something he ate, a few firm taps on the back should do the trick.
If he is not choking, then call for emergency medical assistance.
Place your baby on a flat surface like a table or the floor.
Tilt his head slightly backwards. This opens up the airway. Support his neck.
Now, bend down and try and hear if your baby has started to take a few breaths. If you feel he is struggling but has started to breathe, and his lips are pink, you don't need to start giving him breaths. But keep his airway open in this manner.
If his lips are blue, he is not getting enough oxygen, and you need to start giving him breaths.
Take a breath, place your mouth over his nose and mouth, and give about four gentle puffs in five seconds, into your baby's mouth. While you would have to pinch the nostrils of an adult shut, you don't have to do so with an infant.
Don't take a very deep breath though, as too much air may induce vomiting.
Check your baby's pulse. The artery above the wrist, known as the carotid artery, is hard to locate on an infant. Instead, locate the brachial pulse, which is about halfway between the elbow and the shoulder, on the inside of the arm. If you feel a pulse, continue giving one breath every five seconds. You don't need to compress your baby's chest.
If you don't feel a pulse, begin chest compressions. Press the middle of the breastbone with your first two fingers. Use enough pressure to press down about an inch. The breastbone is at the bottom of the rib cage, where the ribs meet. Move up from your child's navel till you feel the ribs.
Remember, all this while your other hand should be supporting the baby's head and neck, making sure the head is bent backwards and the airway remains open.
Give about 5 compressions every 3 seconds, and give your baby one gentle breath after every 5 compressions. Count out loud, so you don't lose track.
It is a good idea to locate your baby's breastbone and pulse now, so you will be better prepared in case of an emergency.
You administer CPR to a child (who is between the ages of 2 and 8), in the same manner, except you use the heel of your hand to compress the chest, and not the first two fingers.
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- The Indiaparenting Team