Every year, thousands of people suffer a cardiac arrest.
From a family safety point of view, learning how to do CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) will be the only thing you can do for them until medical help arrives.
That’s what happened to me when my son almost drowned when he was four.
So let’s just dispel two myths right away.
You should know how to do CPR not just for older people, and it’s not just for heart attacks.
Cardiac arrests can happen to any one, at any age, and also be caused by suffocations, allergic reactions, drownings, choking or electric shocks.
Don’t worry about not doing it right, or of cracking the victim’s ribs, or failing to save a life. If you do nothing, the person has no chance.
Just do it
Unlike what you may have seen in a TV series or movie, even when CPR is done right, it may not always work.
A study done over a 30-year period found that CPR prevented the deaths of about 15% victims. Another article was more pessimistic – with a survival rate as low as 2%.
But you know what? Both these numbers beat 0%.
So if there is no AED (Automated Emergency Defibrillator) available and the paramedics are still minutes away, start CPR.
In fact, if a person is unresponsive and not breathing, start CPR right away even before calling 911 because permanent brain damage can begin in four to six minutes.
If there are other people around, have them call 911 while you do CPR, and keep it going until the medical responders get there.
Rotate with another person if possible.
So just do it, and don’t worry about not doing it right, or of cracking the victim’s ribs, or failing to save a life.
Because if you do nothing, the person has no chance.
How not to do CPR
This has been a rather serious article so far, so let’s take a step back to see how CPR should NOT be done.
Although silly, Mr. Bean may have struck a chord with those who are reluctant to lock lips with a stranger when doing CPR.
Since most people will not have barriers to use during mouth-to-mouth, an alternative would be hands-only CPR.
Hand-onbly CPR is also an acceptable alternative for those who do not know how to do CPR, or are just rusty.
Call 911, and then pump to the beat of “Staying Alive” until help gets there, like in the video below:
Traditional CPR (with rescue breaths)
For those who are open to doing traditional CPR with rescue breaths, the American Heart Association uses the acronym of CAB — circulation, airway, breathing — to help you remember the order.
This video will show you how:
How to do CPR for kids and infants
The procedure for giving CPR to a child age 1 through 8 is essentially the same as that for an adult, with a few modifications that the following video below demonstrates.
Although less likely, cardiac arrests can happen to infants if there has been a drowning or choking.
If you are helping a baby that isn’t breathing, and know (or have been told) that he or she has an airway obstruction, perform first aid for choking and see if CPR is still needed
Otherwise, start CPR for infants, like shown in the video below (just don’t expect an answer when you ask “Baby, are you ok?” like the video shows you to).
I hope none of you ever have to do CPR on someone you care about like I had to.
But it is an easy skill to learn and is the only thing you can do to buy time for the medical professionals to get to someone who has stopped breathing.
For that reason, I strongly encourage you to learn how to do CPR.