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CPR training for parents and caregivers: Ensuring child safety at home

For those tasked with the great responsibility of providing care in early childhood facilities like daycare or preschool, supporting parents with the resources to protect their children is key. Childcare professionals impact the lives of children and caregivers through supporting academics, behaviors, and safety.

However, they also have the unique chance to maintain safety outside their facility by encouraging parents or caregivers to get CPR training. In the United States alone, over 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside the hospital. Think how many lives could be saved if their family members knew CPR. Parents want the best for their families, and by emphasizing the critical role caregivers play in ensuring children’s safety, it is key that they can adequately perform CPR for infants and children.

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The role of parents and caregivers in child safety

Curious children put small objects in their mouths or wander into backyard pools. The necessity for parents and family members to be able to rescue them is imperative. Statistics of children who experience choking, drowning, or cardiac arrest are frightening, with hundreds of thousands of incidents occurring worldwide each year. However, a quick and prepared response is the difference between life and death in these moments.

Early childhood workers support families and provide resources by emphasizing the critical role parents and caregivers play in ensuring the safety of children at home. Some parents are unaware because of a lack of understanding, while others may have misunderstandings or believe that a frightening emergency won’t occur to their kids.

As professionals committed to the well-being of children, those in the early childcare field have the perfect opportunity to support child safety. Stressing the importance of CPR training and offering recommendations and resources enables parents to take the courses that can save their charge’s lives. Parents and caregivers who possess knowledge of managing emergencies confidently ensure that their home remains a safe haven.

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CPR for Infants and Children

When performing emergency CPR on children, the Basic Life Support (BLS) algorithm by the American Heart Association is an excellent tool. Courses based on the comprehensive step-by-step approach provide a successful resuscitation technique for children and infants. With each year that passes, CPR quality and knowledge improve with every update to the algorithm. By mastering these skills, parents can turn a crisis into a rescue for their children and others.

When a child requires resuscitation, the cause differs from adults because it is rooted in some other issue than cardiac arrest. Specific considerations and techniques are involved when performing CPR on infants and children (under eight years old) that differ from adults. Regarding children, getting them oxygen is the number one concern.

Please take a course to familiarize yourself with the proper CPR procedure. However, these are the steps according to the BLS course by the American Health Association.

  1. Check whether the patient is breathing and whether you can find their pulse.
  2. Active emergency response. However, if you are alone and without a phone- perform CPR for two minutes before leaving the patient to get help.
  3. Begin compressions if the child’s pulse is less than 60 beats per minute or absent.
  4. Push down on the chest to half its depth (about 1.5 inches in babies and 2 inches in children) at a rate of 100 to 120 beats per minute. Many instructors recommend singing “Stayin’ Alive” to ensure you compress fast enough.
  5. If the child has a pulse or an advanced airway (breathing tube), give 20 to 30 breaths per minute.
  6. Attach an automated external defibrillator (AED) as soon as possible. AEDs are available in many public places under a sign stating “AED.”

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Empowering parents with resources

Despite the evidence that CPR training is essential, many parents and caregivers delay attending a class. Juggling work, household tasks, returning to school, and childcare make it difficult for parents to find a CPR course. Some may not wish to think they might need to perform CPR on a loved one. Others may believe that they understand how to perform CPR from a long-ago course. However, regular refreshers are key to ensuring their skills are up to date.

Caregivers who promote accessible training resources empower parents and caregivers to respond confidently in emergencies. Childcare professionals should proactively create a resource list of online training courses, organize local group training classes, or invite certified trainers for in-person demonstrations.

Resources include:

While training caregivers and family members is key, the overall goal is to teach all bystanders. In fact, studies show the benefits of training school children in CPR. When everyone can safely and effectively provide CPR, the outcomes are much better for both children and adults.

The bottom line

Providing early child education means supporting children and their families. Caregivers are experts in normal childhood behavior and provide parents with crucial information. Part of this information sharing is ensuring that the areas where they sleep and play are also safe and wonderful. Since our most important goal is to keep children safe, everyone should know how to perform a successful resuscitation with children. As parents, these valuable skills enable us to become the best possible parents we can be.

Written by on Oct 19, 2023

Caitlin Goodwin, DNP, RN, CNM, is a Board Certified Nurse-Midwife, Registered Nurse, and freelance writer. She has over twelve years of experience in nursing practice.

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