Congenital heart conditions are common in Canada, and it is important to know how to reduce cardiac arrest in pediatric heart patients. Thanks to medical advancements, the survival rate for children living with heart conditions has greatly improved. However, as caregivers, we want to encourage our children to live healthy lives and promote healthy heart choices early on to better control heart disease risk factors.
In the case of an emergency situation, it is helpful to have taken an emergency or standard infant child first aid course and use the proper pediatric specific AED pads.
The Children’s Heart Network of BC Society provides these statistics:
9/10 children with congenital heart disease (CHD) survive to adulthood.
1/100 babies are born with CHD each year.
An estimated 280,000 children and adults live with CHD in Canada.
What is Congenital Heart Disease?
Congenital heart disease (CHD), also known as congenital heart defects, is a heart condition some people are born with. It happens when the heart does not develop normally, and it can range from minor to severe. Often there is no known cause of congenital heart disease, yet it is the most common birth defect plaguing humans. CHDs can be diagnosed during pregnancy, after a baby is born, or in adulthood.
While there are 35 known types of CHD, there are two main types: septal defects and stenosis. Septal defects are holes in the heart wall that separate the left and right chambers of the heart. This can allow blood to leak through instead of flowing throughout the body. Stenosis is when there is a narrowing or obstruction of the arteries, valves, or veins that affects blood flow to the rest of the body.
The Best AEDs for Infants and Children
AEDs are incredibly safe, and they are designed to monitor the patient throughout the rescue.
The Philips HeartStart FRx AED is recommended for infants and children and it is compatible with the FRx Infant/Child Pediatric Key for treating an infant or child who is under 55 lbs. or 8 years old. You must ensure that the key is inserted when treating an infant or child.
The Philips HeartStart Onsite AED is also recommended for infants and children. This AED has infant and child specific electrode pads and you must ensure that you are using them when treating a young patient. Infant Smart Pads are compatible with this onsite AED and they are designed to lower the energy setting for a pediatric patient. The placement of electrode pads for infants and children is also different from adults and it is imperative that they are placed correctly to work effectively. Follow the instructions on the placement guide or electrode pad packaging to correctly place the pads on an infant or child.
Infant and Child CPR
It is important to know child-specific first aid if there are children in your life, regardless of heart conditions. You never want to have to perform CPR on your child, however, it can save their life in an emergency situation. Performing CPR on an infant or child is different from performing CPR on an adult.
For children, rescue breaths are essential, and it is recommended that you give two breaths for every thirty compressions. Use the heel of your hand to perform chest compressions (2 per second) at about 1/3 the depth of the child’s chest. For infants, use your first two fingers to perform compressions on the sternum.
courses are ideal for parents, caregivers, or professionals working with children as they prepare you for situations inside and outside of the home.
It is recommended that children stay active and eat well. It may help to create a healthy living plan for your child with their pediatrician and monitor their intake and activity.
It is possible to live with heart disease and engaging the whole family in healthy living initiatives such as healthy eating and active living can easily turn it into a lifestyle. Be a role model for your child and learn how to best support them through heart disease. Here are some ways to guide your child to live a healthier life. Living a healthy life, taking first aid training, and having the right medical device are ways to protect yourself from cardiac arrest in pediatric heart patients.