BLS for Children (Age One to Puberty)

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BLS for children and infants is almost the same. For example, if two individuals are available for rescue, the breath to compression ratio is 15:2 for both children and infants. Study the succeeding pages and Table 2 for the differences between BLS for children and infants.

One-Rescuer BLS for Children

If you find yourself alone with a child in need of rescue, follow these steps:

  1. Engage with the child by tapping their shoulder or talking to assess responsiveness
  2. Check the breathing pattern.
  3. If the child is unresponsive, call for help. If someone comes over to help, do not leave the child; ask the second person to call 911 instead or to get an AED.
  4. For no more than 10 seconds, attempt to assess the child’s carotid pulse (found on the side of the neck) or femoral pulse (found on the inner thigh in between the leg and the groin).
  5. If you do not feel a pulse, start CPR with 30 compressions followed by two breaths. If you feel a weak pulse, which is generally less than 60 beats per minute (too slow even for a child), start with CPR.
  6. After executing about five cycles of 30 compressions and two breaths within two minutes, and in the event that help has yet to arrive, phone EMS to report the incident while staying close to the child. Retrieve an AED if possible.
  7. Follow AED instructions while executing CPR until EMS arrives or until the child’s condition becomes stable.

Two-Rescuer BLS for Children

If you have someone with you at the emergency site, proceed with the following:

  1. Engage with the child by tapping their shoulder or talking to assess responsiveness
  2. Check the breathing pattern.
  3. Have the second person call 911 if the child is unresponsive or is having trouble breathing. Try to secure an AED as well. (The AHA points out that cell phones are almost universally available with speakerphone features, allowing you to call 911 without having to leave the emergency site)
  4. For no more than 10 seconds, attempt to assess the child’s carotid pulse (found on the side of the neck) or femoral pulse (found on the inner thigh in between the leg and the groin).
  5. If you do not feel a pulse, start CPR with 30 compressions followed by two breaths. If you feel a weak pulse, which is generally less than 60 beats per minute (too slow even for a child), start with CPR.
  6. Proceed with CPR with 15 compressions with one rescuer and two breaths with the second rescuer as soon as you have another person available.
  7. Follow the AED instructions while executing CPR until EMS arrives or until the child’s condition improves.
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