November is National Child Safety Month and is dedicated to raising awareness and informing parents about how to create a safe home environment for their children and even how to respond should the unthinkable occur. No parent ever wants to imagine their child becoming injured or needing emergency medical care, but it is important to brush up on both basic home safety tips and child and infant CPR to stay prepared. Today, I'll go over the basic differences between child and infant CPR and include a helpful home safety checklist to help keep your little ones safe.
Basic Differences Between Child and Infant CPR
Checking for Consciousness:
- Child: When beginning CPR on a child (or an adult), it is customary to attempt to wake a patient by shaking the shoulder or arm.
- Infant: Infants are much more delicate, and shaking is not advised. To test and see if an infant is conscious, gently stroke the baby or tap the soles of the feet and watch for movement or another response.
Checking for a Pulse:
- Child: When checking for a pulse on a child, you would normally check the carotid artery on the child's neck.
- Infant: For an infant, you check for a pulse on the inside of the upper arm where the brachial artery is found.
Giving Rescue Breaths:
- Child: Child airways are much more fragile than those of adults, and infant airways are even more delicate. When giving a child rescue breaths, do not tilt the head back too far (this can actually block the airway further), and breathe gently.
- Infant: For an infant, use "sniffler's position," which is just a slight tilt of the head, where the baby looks like it's sniffing the air. Giving rescue breaths, use your cheeks instead of the full strength of your lungs. Also, it's okay if you cover the nose and mouth of the baby with your mouth when giving rescue breaths.
Giving Chest Compressions:
- Child: Depending on the size and age of the child, you can use either one or two hands to give chest compressions. Because children are smaller, make sure compressions are no deeper than one and a half inches.
- Infant: Infants chests are both smaller and more delicate than a child's chest, so when giving compressions, just use two fingers in the center of the chest, and do not compress any deeper than one and a half inches.
Home Safety Tips
- Keep walkways, hallways, and especially areas near stairs free of clutter and toys. Have a specific space away from those areas where children keep their toys, and supervise them to make sure that when play time is over, all of the toys are put away safely.
- Remove or secure all cleaners, medications, and other poisonous substances out of the reach of children.
- Invest in child safety locks on cabinets and child safety gates to keep them out of unsafe areas like the kitchen or bathroom.
- Install child safety electrical socket covers to keep wandering fingers out of harm's way.
- Keep an emergency numbers list on the kitchen fridge that has poison control, the fire and police department, the local ER, and your child's pediatrician's numbers all in one place.
- Test your smoke alarms regularly, and make sure you hold fire drills so that your children know what to do in case of fire.
- Never leave your child alone in the kitchen with the stove or oven on, and use back burners with the handles turned in so grabby hands can't pull hot pans off of the burners.
- Keep small objects like coins, latex balloons, hard candies, gooey or hard-to-chew foods like toffee or gum, and even small toys away from where small children can see or touch them to avoid possible suffocation and choking.
- Never place pillows, blankets, comforters, or soft toys in cribs with babies, and always make sure you put your baby on their back.
- Make sure your child is properly fitted and is the proper height and weight for their current car seat.
I hope these tips help you secure your home and give you a little more peace of mind when caring for your little one. The last thing I wanted to remind you of is that the number one way to keep your child out of danger is to continue to supervise them as much as possible. Also, be proactive with regard to child safety by considering potential dangerous situations ahead of time. A little planning goes a long way toward keeping your child safe!