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CPR – Differences in CPR for Children & Infants

Defining a child: A child is a victim who is over the age of 1 and up to the age of puberty. Puberty is defined as breast development in females and underarm or facial hair in males. Puberty is used as the establishment of adulthood as developmental changes may effect aspects of CPR. In addition to puberty the overall size of the victim should be considered due to the current epidemic of obese children in the United States. If the victim is the size of an adult – treat them as an adult and not a child – regardless of age or puberty status.  An infant is defined as any victim under the age of 1.

Reason for Cardiac Arrest in Children/Infants: Children and Infants suffer from cardiac arrest typically as a result of a respiratory event such as choking or respiratory arrest. Not from a cardiac condition – It is uncommon to hear of a child or infant having a heart attack. Children and Infants typically do not have a history of high blood pressure, smoking, or other conditions that are applicable to adults.

Due to children and infants likely going into cardiac arrest due to respiratory event, we must recognize that oxygenation and circulation need to be initiated as quickly as possible for these age groups.

Hypoxia (or lack of oxygen inside the body) is a reversible cause of cardiac arrest. If oxygenation and circulation are performed quickly and effectively the cardiac arrest may improve or allow the person to recover.

Next: When to Call or Get Help for Children and Infants in Cardiac Arrest

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