Knowing the difference in performing CPR on an adult, child, and infant will significantly affect the victim's survival. In this article, you will learn the differences in CPR ratio, compression rate, depth, hand placement, and ventilation to a specific age group to avoid complications such as breaking ribs.
While adult and child CPR requires abdominal compressions and rescue breaths, their application differs slightly because a child's physiology, bone density, and strength differ from an adult's. It is essential to know the difference between adult and pediatric CPR so that you can offer lifesaving aid in an emergency. Here are the key differences between adult and child CPR:
One of the primary differences between adult and child CPR is the recommended depth of chest compressions. For adults, the sternum is deeper and more robust, requiring compressions with a depth of at least 2-2.4 inches (5-6 centimeters). In contrast, children have smaller chests and less rigid bones, so the depth of compressions should be adjusted.
For children older than 1 year, the recommended compression depth is about 2 inches (5 centimeters). For infants and younger children, the depth is typically around one-third of the chest diameter, which is roughly 2 inches for school-age children and 1.5 inches for infants.
Both adults and children benefit from a similar compression rate of around 100-120 compressions per minute. Consistent and timely compressions help maintain blood circulation and oxygen delivery to vital organs.
Correct hand placement is crucial for effective chest compressions. For adults, the heel of one hand should be placed on the center of the chest, between the nipples. In children, it's important to adapt hand placement based on their size. For children older than 1 year, use one or two hands placed on the center of the chest, just below the nipple line. Infants require even more delicate placement, using two fingers (middle and ring fingers) on the lower half of the breastbone.
Both adults and children require ventilation during CPR to provide oxygen to the lungs. The ventilation technique involves tilting the head back to open the airway, pinching the nose shut, and giving a breath that causes the chest to rise visibly. For both adults and children, follow a compression-to-ventilation ratio of 30:2, meaning 30 compressions are followed by 2 rescue breaths.
When performing CPR alone on both adults and children, the compression-to-ventilation ratio is 30:2, meaning 30 compressions are given, followed by 2 rescue breaths. For pediatric CPR with two rescuers, the compression-to-ventilation ratio changes to 15:2 to maintain the efficiency of chest compressions.
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are crucial in cardiac arrest situations. They analyze the heart rhythm and deliver a shock if necessary to restore normal rhythm. When using an AED on a child, it's important to use pediatric pads or select the child setting to ensure the appropriate energy levels are administered. However, if only adult pads are available, it's generally acceptable to use them on a child if pediatric pads are not accessible.
Children have a 17-40% survival rate if a child victim receives CPR out-of-hospital. The survival rate may seem low, but it has dramatically improved from around 2.6% because more people nowadays know how to perform CPR. Additionally, their chances of survival are higher when a child is found within a few minutes.
For Adults, the survival rate to discharge is typically much lower at around 7% if they didn’t get CPR from bystanders. However, this survival rate increases to 11% when a bystander initiates CPR.
When dealing with a child who is unresponsive, always check for a pulse within 10 seconds. If a pulse cannot be detected or if the child is only gasping, start CPR immediately. If the child is breathing normally but unresponsive, place them in a recovery position on their side and call for medical help. This is to ensure their airway remains open and they can breathe as you wait for professional assistance.
There are different guidelines for performing CPR for adults and children because they are two different age groups with different needs. Because a child's body is not as developed as adults, they require different techniques and equipment when performing CPR. In addition, children are more likely to suffer from cardiac arrest due to respiratory problems, so the American Heart Association's protocols focus on providing rescue breaths and chest compressions.
CPR is needed when a person is unresponsive, not breathing, and has no pulse. CPR is used to help maintain blood flow and oxygenation until medical professionals can take over and provide advanced care.
When administering CPR on a child, it is important to take into account their size and age. Children require different chest compression depths, rates, and ratios of breaths to compressions than adults. Additionally, rescuers should be sure to support the head in order to keep the airway open. It is also important to provide rescue breaths at the correct rate for a child – one breath every three to five seconds. Finally, it is important to be gentle when administering CPR on a child as they can be more fragile than adults.
When performing CPR on an adult, the rescuer should place their hands in the center of the chest and push down at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute with a depth of two inches. For a child, the rescuer should use one hand to perform chest compressions with a depth of one and a half inches. Additionally, the ratio of breaths to compressions should be 30:2 for both adults and children.
When providing CPR to an adult, it is important to ensure that the chest compressions are deep enough and performed at the correct rate. Additionally, the rescuer should be mindful of not pushing too hard or too fast. For a child, it is important to provide gentle chest compressions as they can be more fragile than adults. It is also important to support the head in order to keep the airway open, and to provide rescue breaths at the correct rate – one breath every three to five seconds.
When performing CPR on adults and children, the steps are generally the same. However, there are some important variations between adults and children. For instance, when providing chest compressions for an adult the rate should be 100-120 per minute with a depth of two inches, whereas for a child it should be 120-150 per minute with a depth of one and a half inches. Additionally, the ratio of breaths to compressions should be 30:2 for both adults and children. Finally, it is important to provide rescue breaths at the correct rate for a child – one breath every three to five seconds.
Unlike the Chain of Survival for adults, which begins with early recognition and calls for emergency assistance, the Chain of Survival for a child dictates that high-quality CPR starts immediately. Infants and children have a higher survival rate than adults following immediate CPR because their bodies are more resilient than adults and because it's usually an airway blockage that causes them to need CPR. Children must receive CPR right away to increase their chances of survival.
What is the chain of survival for adults?
According to the American Heart Association, the five links in the adult Chain of Survival are:
What is the chain of survival for a child?
The pediatric chain of survival consists of:
The two chain of survival pathways in cardiopulmonary resuscitation that are the same for an adult and pediatric victim are early recognition and activation of the emergency response system and early cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Some essential considerations when providing CPR to infants compared to adults include the need for specialized equipment like an infant-sized bag-valve-mask, using two fingers for chest compressions instead of the heel of the hand, and the need to clear the airway of any obstructing material.
The critical age cutoffs for determining whether to provide adult or child CPR are typically defined as age 8 or puberty. Children under age 8 or before puberty generally require child CPR, while those over age 8 or after puberty typically require adult CPR.
The anatomical and physiological differences between adults and children can impact the effectiveness of CPR. For example, the smaller size of a child's chest and airway can make it more difficult to perform effective compressions and ventilations. Additionally, children's hearts are more likely to stop due to respiratory failure than adults, which can impact the underlying cause of cardiac arrest.
To determine if a victim is an infant, child, or adult, you can look at the victim's physical characteristics such as size, weight, and age. Typically, an infant is considered to be under 1 year of age, a child is between 1 and 8 years of age, and an adult is over the age of 8 or after puberty.
Complete chest recoil is important during CPR because it allows the chest to fully expand between compressions, allowing for optimal blood flow from the heart. CPR is needed when a person's breathing or heartbeat has stopped.
Rapid defibrillation is important because it can restore the heart's normal rhythm and improve the chances of survival. Defibrillation delivers an electric shock to the heart, stopping the abnormal rhythm and allowing it to resume its normal beat.
Two key differences when giving care to an unresponsive choking infant compared to an unresponsive choking adult or child include supporting the infant's head and neck during rescue breaths and using back slaps and chest thrusts instead abdominal thrusts to relieve choking.
You may have heard of a method of CPR where you do continuous chest compressions but don't do rescue breathing. This is intended for situations in public where an adult collapses and needs help from a stranger who may be more willing to do CPR. This can only work for adults. Don't use hands-only CPR with children. Use conventional CPR instead, where you alternate 30 compressions with two breaths.
If you are not trained in CPR and witness an unconscious child or adult, it's an important step to activate EMS by calling 911. The operator will give you basic lifesaving instructions over the phone, including performing hands-only CPR.
You never know when someone will suffer from a cardiac emergency or any emergency that may require CPR. It could happen in your home, office, or any public place. However, when you know how to perform CPR for adults and children, you will have the training and confidence to act fast and potentially save a life. The basic steps can keep the oxygen-rich blood flowing to the victim's brain and other vital organs until emergency medical treatment can restore the normal heart rhythm. You may enroll in an online CPR/AED certification course that follows the American Heart Association for Emergency Cardiovascular Care guidelines to do this successfully. Many organizations and training centers like CPR Select are offering this course.