"When a child stops breathing, it’s important to act quickly and to know the steps you need to take in order to have a good outcome," said Ellen Scott, BSN, RN, CBIS, and RN clinical supervisor for Madonna’s Omaha Campus. Ellen says warning signs a child has stopped breathing include a pale skin color, physically struggling to and a bluish tinge around the lips. "If they’re struggling breathing you’ll see their chest and kind of their intercostals muscles working very hard and retracting. It’s very obvious. You see that they are truly struggling."
Ellen details out what parents/caregivers should if a child or infant stops breathing. She also demonstrates the proper technique and the compression-ventilation ratio.
“If you come across a child and that child is not breathing and there is no pulse, make sure the scene is safe. If they are in traffic or water, remove them from those dangerous environments. Once the child is in a safe area, next check for a pulse. In a child, you’re going to check their carotid pulse and in an infant, you'll check the brachial pulse which is located under the arm."
Ellen says check the pulse for no longer than 10 seconds and if there is no pulse, immediately activate the emergency response system by pointing to someone and telling them to ‘Go call 911.’ Also, get an AED, if available. Then you begin CPR. “I look right for the nipple line and I place the heel of my hand in the center of the chest on the sternum, I interlock my fingers with my other hand, I lock out my elbows and I begin compressions," says Ellen. If by yourself, the compression to ventilation ratio is 30 compressions to two breaths. If with a partner, the ventilation ration is 15 compressions to two breaths.
If your child/infant is unable to breathe due to choking, Ellen demonstrates the American Red Cross’ “five-and-five” approach to delivering first aid on an infant. “When a baby is choking it’s important to either get to the floor or sit on a chair for best results. I would first do five back slaps and then five chest compressions.”
“So if you know the steps, you stay calm, you activate the emergency response system, that child has the potential to have a great outcome,“ says Ellen.
For more information on Madonna's robust inpatient pediatric program, please visit our pediatrics program.
Please note: the video is meant for informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for completing a certified CPR class.