In an emergency

This week I was lucky enough to attend a small CPR course at a friend’s house. While you may ASSUME I am extremely calm and collected during an emergency (I know, I give off that super calm and cool vibe, right? Ahem) my husband can attest that I am, in fact, NOT calm in an emergency. Just ask him (or my neighbors) about the time I “cut off my finger.” And since it had been more than four years since my infant CPR course, I thought a little refresher couldn’t hurt.

It was so amazing.

I’ll be honest. As a parent, I experience a lot of fear. Fear of cars, fear of pools, fear of fire ants and snakes and hot dogs and corners of tables and dogs and grapes and playground equipment, and on. And on. And on. Life with kids is one big fear fest, because the number one job we have, above all else, is to help them survive childhood. But the little buggers seem pretty determined to throw all caution to the wind and live like there is no tomorrow. CAN’T THEY SEE MY GRAY HAIRS?? They are giving me gray hair. Make them stop.

But I digress. The point is that a lot of the situations I fear grow bigger (and scarier) due to a feeling of total helplessness. For example, I know the general idea of how to do the heimlich. But the idea I’d ever have to use it scared me. For obvious reasons, but also because I wasn’t exactly sure, HOW to do it. Where do my hands go? How hard do I push (or pull?) What happens if they don’t stop choking?

This course gave me a feeling of power and knowledge. I still hope to never use anything I learned, but man, what a great blessing to have been given the opportunity. I strongly urge anyone (parent or no) to either take a course, or at least hop on YouTube and watch a few videos to spruce up your knowledge of CPR and choking rescue tactics. Hell, while you are there, watch the video of the cat on the Roomba too. It’s delightful.

In the meantime, here are a few quick visuals on how to do CPR on an adult or child (not infant). The techniques are basically the same, but a few things to note:

1. Always check for signs of breathing, make sure the area is secure and yell for help. If someone is nearby, have them call 911 and grab an AED if it is available. Don’t be afraid of the AED!! It has clear, verbal instructions once you start to use it, and greatly increasesthe changes of a positive outcome. If no one is around to help you, start life-saving CPR FIRST before calling 911. Immediate action also greatly increases the chances of a positive outcome.

2. Compressions on an adult need to move the chest approx. 2 inches. On a child it is 1.5 inches. The amount of force differs, so you may only need one hand to compress a child and two for an adult. The images from our session don’t show the use of just one hand, but be aware that you will need less pressure for a child.

3. On an adult you begin with 100 chest compressions followed by two breaths, the begin a pattern of 30 compressions and two breaths, until help arrives. With children, you skip the 100 chest compressions and begin the pattern of 30 compressions and two breaths until help arrives. If no one is available to call 911, once you have done 5 sets of 30 compressions and 2 breaths, you may break quickly to call 911 and then resume CPR.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, my VERY SIMPLIFIED, CPR for dummies visual overview. *Please note: I’m not a medical professional, or hell, even CERTIFIED in CPR. There are a lot more great details that you need to know and again I urge you to take a course yourself. However, knowledge is power, blah-dy-blah-blah, and I took all these great pictures, and I didn’t DO THAT FOR NOTHIN’ so here you go.

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