CPR – Why Every Parent Should Know How to Do It
Strangely enough, newborns are not delivered with an instruction manual. Crazy right?? So of course, new parents are often afraid they do not know everything they need to know about taking care of their bundle of joy. AND they are correct!! While most of being a parent is taught through trial and error (yes all first born children are test subjects for parents), there is one thing that all parents need to know although they will most likely never have to use it.
My personal opinion is that everyone needs to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). I was taught in junior high health class decades ago and never thought at the time that I would ever use it. Sadly, I have had to use my training on three occasions.
The first time was on a gentlemen on the sidewalk in Jacksonville, Fla that actually fell on me as he collapsed. I didn’t even think about it, just jumped on him and shouted for help and 911. They arrived and took over, thankfully he survived. I later learned he was the VP of a local bank.
The second time was during college and I witnessed an accident. A car was traveling too fast and lost control flipping several times and landing against a telephone phone. I can still see the accident when I think about it. Scary, scary visual to this day. One of the occupants was thrown from the car, the driver was killed on impact and another passenger was pinned. I went to the car first and felt no pulse on the driver, knew from the screaming that the pinned person was at least alive and breathing so I ran to the person on the ground. I think I knew in my heart they were already gone but they were the brother of the pinned passenger and I just had to try. I started CPR on them and another person that had stopped jumped in to help me. We worked until the paramedics pulled us both off. The college age guy was taken by ambulance but was pronounced dead at the hospital.
As scary as both of these times were, the third and last time that I have had to use my CPR training was on my own child. My daughter Elizabeth was just days old when she stopped breathing in my arms. Oh, the beads of sweat still pop out as I think about it. My hearts races and the tears start flowing. Her sister, who was 6 at the time called 911 and believe it or not.. THEY WOULD NOT TAKE HER CALL!!! Here I am screaming in the background and the 911 operator is telling my 6 year old to put her mother on the phone! I told her to put the phone down and run next door to our neighbor. The neighbor came over and placed a call with their cell phone. Needless to say, the way 911 operators handle calls from children has changed once my campaign against them was over!
It was on this occasion that I also learned that not all rescue vehicles carry equipment needed for small children, citing that the “need for such materials” is not often enough to warrant using the valuable space on the unit! Um, yeah that is different now too at least in Jacksonville, Fla.
Anyway, my daughter survived and is now a mother of two little ones that are her pride and joy. I hate to think about that night, but it is the most important reason I believe that every parent should know how to perform CPR.
No parent ever wants to think about their child choking or that they would ever need to perform CPR on anyone, much less their own child. However, knowing how to perform CPR can save your child’s life.
If nothing else, just understand that CPR maintains the breathing and circulation until emergency personnel arrive…
Any type of injury can cause a person to stop breathing. If there is no breath, blood cannot circulate which means the brain will be starved of oxygen. Permanent brain damage or even death happens in as little as eight minutes if someone doesn’t offer help. While any death is a tragedy, to lose a child in this manner, especially if you could have done something about it, can tear a parent apart.
What are some of the reasons why a parent would need to know CPR?
While you may not want to think about the possibilities of needing to breathe for your child, some of the reasons may include:
* Smoke inhalation
* Electrocution injuries
* Possible sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
To have the greatest chance of success, CPR should be started as soon as possible if it is needed. When you come across an accident, first determine if CPR is needed – it might not be.
First ensure it is safe to get to the person in trouble. If you are injured in the process of trying to reach them, you won’t do them any good. Once you know it is safe, you can approach the person to determine the extent of their injury and what the best course of action should be.
There are three basic parts to CPR: Think ABC – Airway, Breathing and Circulation. CPR for children should be done in five cycles over two minutes.
~ Ensure the airway is open. Perhaps a piece of food or another object is blocking it. Open the airway to enable rescue breathing. If they person is not breathing, rescue breathing should be started immediately. The last step of the procedure is to re-establish circulation.
~ Provide two rescue breaths followed by 30 chest compression. This cycle will be continued for a total of five cycles. Then call 911 to get professional help if you haven’t already done so. Resume CPR until medical help arrives.
Learning CPR is not difficult. The classes are taught at most fire stations or local hospitals. The American Heart Association also teaches the class and has a listing of where locally you can check if their schedule doesn’t fit yours. Instructors will also come to your location if you gather a group to take the class.
Knowing first aid and CPR is something every parent needs to know before the time it is needed. Not only can these skills save their child’s life, they can be used to help others as well.
Now that you know why learning CPR is so important, is there any reason to put it off any longer? Sign up for a class soon.