Preparing for Parenthood with BLS Certification
Preparing for Parenthood with BLS Certification
by Greta Kviklyte
Life Saver, AMC
Co-authored by Kim Murray, RN, M.S.
posted on May 28, 2023, at 4:26 am
Parenthood presents both immense satisfaction and formidable challenges in an individual’s life. As parents, individuals assume the weighty responsibility of nurturing another life. Throughout this journey, there will be significant milestones to achieve, joyous birthdays to commemorate, and momentous graduation ceremonies to attend. Unfortunately, children face potential risks such as cardiac arrest (CA), choking incidents, and other traumatic events. These dangers can arise from congenital health issues, participation in sports, or even routine activities. According to the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR), out-of-hospital cardiac arrest rates among children reveal a distressing reality: a higher mortality rate compared to adults. To confront this disconcerting situation, one possible solution could be for prospective parents to acquire Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification, which encompasses comprehensive CPR training, in preparation for their parenthood journey
Do I Really Need BLS Certification?
Children who experience out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (CA) face mortality rates equivalent to those seen in children at the end of the 20th century. The risks that children encounter can be highly alarming for young adults who are new to parenthood. Moreover, children with chronic health conditions are at a heightened risk of experiencing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
Children who have chronic health conditions encompass a range of conditions, such as early-onset diabetes, which the AHA states escalates the risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) by seven times. Additionally, congenital heart issues like arrhythmias or vascular malformations are included in this category. The existence of risk factors associated with cardiovascular problems, including obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol, and the use of nicotine-containing products like e-cigarettes and vaping products also contributes to these conditions. Furthermore, an anaphylactic reaction to an allergen can lead to airway constriction, affecting the ability to breathe properly.
The presence of an airway blockage, which can occur during choking incidents, poses an additional risk for cardiac arrest (CA). Health specialists report that choking stands as the fourth primary cause of death in children and infants below the age of 5. While food represents the most frequent choking hazard, it is important to note that toys, items containing latex-like balloons or gloves, and small objects can swiftly turn into life-threatening dangers. This risk is especially critical for children who are in the stage of exploring the world through taste. Consider infants, for instance; chewing on objects becomes an integral part of their developmental process and teething experience as they strive to gain a better understanding of their surroundings.
Children face an increased vulnerability to unintentional injuries. These incidents encompass a wide range of situations, including burns, drowning, falls, poisoning, and road traffic accidents. Shockingly, over 12,000 children lose their lives due to unintentional injuries, while more than 9.2 million require treatment in emergency departments each year. Moreover, the nature of these injuries and the associated risks vary across different age groups.
Infants are at a higher risk of experiencing suffocation incidents, while children between the ages of 1 and 4 are more prone to burns or drowning accidents. On a broader scale, among children aged 5 and above, motor vehicle collisions represent the primary cause of fatalities.
Regrettably, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and undiagnosed heart issues are frequently attributed to the causes of death among teenage athletes when they undergo intense physical exertion, such as participating in sports. However, due to the rarity of SCA incidents in adolescent athletes, there is limited opportunity for comprehensive research. According to findings published in Circulation, sports-related SCA accounted for as much as 39 percent of all cases of SCA in individuals under the age of 18. Consequently, there is a recognized necessity, as outlined in the Journal, to conduct screenings for identifying SCA risks in young individuals. Thus, it becomes crucial to educate parents on life-saving techniques and equip them with the ability to recognize the warning signs of SCA, ultimately aiming to enhance survival rates.
Is There Any Potential Danger to the Unborn Child During BLS Certification Training?
Expectant mothers may experience concerns about the potential harm to their unborn child when acquiring knowledge on performing chest compressions and providing rescue breaths. Regrettably, there is a lack of studies addressing the specific safety of pregnant women engaging in these activities. However, the appropriateness of such actions during pregnancy depends on the guidance of the overseeing obstetrician. In general, most women are encouraged to participate in a wide range of activities, including exercise, while pregnant.
Under the supervision and approval of a physician, pregnant women possess the ability to undergo comprehensive in-person training. Alternatively, there are alternative options available, such as online certification programs, which eliminate any concerns regarding physical risks associated with learning the essential skills for performing Basic Life Support (BLS) while pregnant and earning BLS certification. Moreover, emerging technologies like life-saving virtual reality education can be utilized to teach these skills to expectant women who may have apprehensions about the physical demands involved in training on mannequins.
BLS Certification is Aiding Parents to Train for Unforeseen Situations
Having the knowledge of performing Basic Life Support serves as the initial stage in the Chain of Survival. The Chain of Survival commences with the simplest measures, such as assessing breathing and circulation. As parents undergo BLS certification training, they acquire the necessary skills to swiftly check for these vital signs. Regrettably, valuable time can be wasted when attempting to locate a pulse. In situations where a pulse cannot be detected within five seconds, parents should promptly proceed with the appropriate BLS steps, such as repositioning the head.
This particular step entails placing one hand on the forehead and the other hand gripping the chin. By gently tilting the head back and simultaneously lifting the chin upward, the tongue is effectively lifted away from the rear of the mouth.
In the event that the child is not displaying signs of breathing, parents have the option to deliver two rescue breaths, ensuring that it is sufficient to observe the rise of the chest. If no pulse is detected, parents will proceed with administering CPR, ensuring the appropriate ratio of chest compressions to rescue breaths is provided.
The decision of whether parents should perform CPR alone or seek assistance from another individual depends on the specific circumstances surrounding the child’s loss of consciousness and cardiac arrest (CA).
In contrast to adults, who might have preexisting health conditions and more resilient bodily systems, cardiac arrest (CA) in children is often attributed to trauma or unintentional injuries. Therefore, it is crucial to seek professional medical assistance to enhance the chances of survival in such cases.
Moreover, parents with infants or very young children have the advantage of being able to bring their children along with them in case of choking or cardiac arrest (CA) incidents. Through an online BLS certification course, parents acquire essential life-saving techniques tailored to children of various age groups. Our online courses are meticulously crafted by board-certified physicians, equipping you with the necessary skills to intervene effectively in life-threatening situations. Possessing the right training and certification can truly make a life-or-death difference. Acquiring this knowledge has the potential to genuinely save your child’s life.
Best Practices to Prevent SCA and Injuries for Youngest Family Members
By actively working to prevent unintentional injuries in children, parents can also lower the risk of cardiac arrest (CA). While parents may not have complete control over their child’s activities, particularly during school hours, there are several steps they can take to minimize risks. This includes promoting healthy eating habits and engaging in regular exercise together with their children. Additionally, parents should prioritize addressing potential risks by breaking them down into distinct categories and focusing on specific areas of concern.
Participating in sports and physical activities offers long-term health benefits, but it is important to acknowledge that these activities can also pose an elevated risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Therefore, before and during a child’s involvement in sports, parents must take certain precautionary measures to ensure their safety.
- cardiac arrest (SCA). This screening serves to identify any underlying heart conditions that may pose an increased risk of SCA. By ruling out these additional risks, parents can ensure their child’s safety.
- Utilize appropriate safety gear to mitigate the risk of unintentional injuries. It is crucial to use the necessary safety equipment specific to each sport. For instance, when learning to ride a bicycle, wearing a helmet is imperative. Employing the appropriate safety gear significantly reduces the likelihood of injuries.
- Familiarize yourself with the signs of a concussion. Many sports-related sites offer dedicated videos on proper sporting techniques to minimize the risk of concussions or brain injuries. Recognizing the signs of a concussion, such as forgetfulness, temporary paralysis, slurred speech, and delayed responses, is crucial for prompt intervention and appropriate care.
- Choose playgrounds constructed with soft materials like mulch or sand, as opposed to dirt or grass. Playgrounds equipped with softer materials help reduce the risk of fractures or other injuries resulting from falls. Additionally, it is advisable to ensure that outdoor play areas at home are also furnished with similar soft base materials.
- Encourage children to consume an adequate amount of water during strenuous physical activity. Staying hydrated is vital for preventing not only SCA but also other health problems associated with sports and vigorous activities. Parents should ensure that children have access to clean, cool water and encourage them to drink plenty. Moreover, it is important for children and teenagers to avoid consuming caffeinated beverages while participating in sports or engaging in similar activities. These hydration practices should also be emphasized when children enter college for the first time, considering the unique health risks within close-knit communities.
Safety While Driving
To safeguard children above the age of 5 from the increased risk of unintentional injuries in vehicle crashes, parents should follow these guidelines:
- Utilize an Appropriate Car Seat for the Child’s Age: Experts provide valuable advice on selecting the right car seat, ensuring a snug fit, and verifying that the seat belt allows for less than one inch of movement when properly fastened. Car seats should be used based on the child’s height, regardless of their age.
- Ensure Children Under the Age of 12 Ride in the Backseat: Small children are at risk of severe harm from airbag deployment, so it is crucial for children under the age of 12 or those who are shorter than average to always ride in the backseat of the vehicle.
- Educate Driving-Age Children on the Importance of Avoiding Phone Use While Driving: It is imperative to teach teenagers who are of driving age about the significant dangers associated with using mobile phones while operating a vehicle. Some studies suggest that texting while driving poses a greater risk than driving under the influence of alcohol.
Safe Home Surroundings
The home presents various risks for potential injuries. Here are some helpful tips to prevent accidents and injuries within the home:
- Secure Furniture to Prevent Tipping: NBC News reports an increased risk of injuries resulting from furniture tipping over after a child climbs on it. Most furniture manufacturers have implemented child-safe mechanisms to secure furniture to walls. It is important for parents to utilize these means of securing furniture and also consider mounting televisions on surfaces or using wall-mounted TVs to minimize the risk of tipping.
- Install Stair Gates to Prevent Falls: Children under the age of 4 are particularly susceptible to falling down staircases. To prevent such accidents, it is advised to install stair gates at both the top and bottom of all stairways in the home, effectively blocking access to the stairs.
- Safeguard Medications from Children: All medications should be stored in locked containers, inaccessible to children. While child-safe bottles are designed to protect younger children, it is crucial to include teenagers in this safety measure as well, given the seriousness and devastation caused by the opioid epidemic.
- Remove Coin-Sized Batteries: Coin-sized lithium-ion batteries pose a significant hazard to young children, as they can be mistaken for candy or toys. If swallowed, these batteries can lead to severe health risks. It is important to eliminate the presence of such batteries in the household to prevent accidental ingestion.
Safe Behavior Around Fire
Every day, more than 300 children under the age of 19 receive medical treatment for burns, and tragically, two of them do not survive. To minimize the risk of burns in children, parents should follow these preventive measures:
- Regularly Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms: It is crucial to check smoke and CO alarms once a month to ensure they are functioning properly. These alarms play a vital role in alerting children and waking them from sleep in the event of a fire.
- Familiarize Children with Escape Plans: It is essential to go over escape plans with children, ensuring they understand how to safely evacuate the home or building, even when parents are absent. This knowledge is invaluable in the event of a fire.
- Monitor Water Heater Temperature: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends setting the water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Younger children are more susceptible to scald burns, making it crucial to maintain a safe water temperature.
- Educate Older Children and Teenagers on Fire Safety: Older children should be taught important fire safety practices, such as avoiding loose clothing while cooking. Flame burns are more common among older children, and imparting this knowledge can help prevent accidents and injuries.
Safety In And Near Water
Every day, up to 10 individuals lose their lives to drowning, with two of them being children under the age of 14. Drowning ranks as the fifth-leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. While parents equipped with BLS certification can perform life-saving measures to reduce drowning fatalities, expectant parents can also play a role in mitigating the risk of drowning by following these guidelines:
- Provide Active Supervision When Children Are Playing in or Near Water: It is strongly advised that parents learn CPR and BLS techniques and teach children the fundamentals of swimming before allowing them to engage in water activities. It is crucial to actively supervise children at all times during water play.
- Ensure Children Wear Properly Fitted Life Jackets: Children should always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket that fits them correctly. Pay attention to the jacket’s size and ensure it does not easily slip off when worn properly.
- Avoid Distractions When Children Are in or Around Water: Drowning incidents can occur swiftly and quietly, emphasizing the need for parents to remain focused and free from distractions while supervising children. Activities such as using a smartphone or listening to loud music should be avoided to ensure adequate attention is given to water safety.
Earn BLS Certification – Best Way To Prepare for Parenthood
Parenthood is a joyful journey that should not be overshadowed by the risks of cardiac arrest, choking, or accidental injuries. Alongside the necessary preparations like regular check-ups, gathering supplies, hosting a baby shower, and arranging the nursery, soon-to-be parents are encouraged to incorporate the recommendations above and acquire BLS certification.
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