guest post by Sajida, Edmonton Events Director
Do you know what to do if your infant or child is choking? What about if they have stopped breathing? Of course no one wants to think about these terrible things happening to their little ones, but the unfortunate truth is that knowing what to do can make the difference between life and death. According to St John Ambulance, Canada’s standard for excellence in first aid and CPR training, time is very important when dealing with an unconscious infant who is not breathing. Permanent brain damage begins after only 4 minutes without oxygen, and death can occur as soon as 4 – 6 minutes later. Knowing what to do and staying calm is the key to saving a life.
Tara Vanderkraats (an Edmonton resident) didn’t think it could happen to her. She writes “My daughter choked and went blue at 2 weeks old and luckily being a Registered Nurse I knew what to do and she was fine within a few seconds of me reacting. However, I can’t tell you how many people I know that don’t know CPR- especially for their children!”
Unlike adults, who often require CPR because of a heart attack, most children need CPR because of a preventable accident. An infant is considered between the ages of 0-12 months and a child is (for CPR purposes) considered under the age of 8 years old. Here are some tips on how to keep your young ones safe.
- Never underestimate what an infant can do. Play it safe and assume the child is more mobile and more dexterous than you thought possible.
- Never leave an infant unattended on a bed, table, or other surface from which the infant could roll. Always use safety straps on high chairs and strollers.
- Never leave an infant in a mesh playpen with one side down.
- Follow the guidelines for using infant car seats.
- Start teaching your infant the meaning of “Don’t touch.” The earliest safety lesson is “No!”
- Choose age-appropriate toys. Do not give infants toys that are heavy or fragile. Inspect toys for small or loose parts, sharp edges, points, loose batteries, and other hazards.
- Create a safe environment and supervise children carefully, particularly around water and near furniture. Keep toxic chemicals and cleaning solutions safely stored in childproof cabinets.
- Dangers such as electrical outlets, stove tops, and medicine cabinets are attractive to infants and small children.
- To reduce the risk of choking accidents, make sure infants and small children cannot reach buttons, watch batteries, popcorn, coins, grapes, or nuts.
- It is also important to sit with an infant while he or she eats. Do not allow an infant to crawl around while eating or drinking from a bottle.
- Never tie pacifiers, jewelry, chains, bracelets, or anything else around an infant’s neck or wrists
Do you want to learn more about what to do if an accident occurs? Join Modern Mama at Riverbend United Church on Tuesday November 15th for daytime or Tuesday November 22nd from 7 Pm- 9Pm for a 90 minute Infant & Chld CPR information session led by St. John Ambulance for $35. Childcare available. For registration and information visit www.modernmama.ca. (space is limited and these sessions fill fast)