Can You Use an AED on an Infant?

Can you use and AED on and infant? Many people have reservations about using AEDs for children, especially infants. It is a fear that is fueled by preconceived notions about the mechanics and technology of the machine. Some have questions about using adult AED pads in case pediatric pads are not available. It must be understood that both the device and adult AED pads can be used on children, even infants, if pediatric pads are not available. When using pediatric pads, or adult pads in an emergency, one of the pads will be placed on the chest while the other will be placed between the shoulder blades on the back. This is the proper pad placement when dealing with a child or infant victim. The reason for this different kind of pad placement is that usually in children or infant victims there is not enough space on the victim’s body to keep the pads a good distance apart so they do not touch. In order for modern defibrillators to shock they have to be able to analyze the heart rhythm of a victim, if the pads are in contact with each other it will confuse the machine and will not let it continue with the proper treatment. Some newer AEDs nowadays will measure the impedance of the victim and only deliver enough of a shock to correct the irregular heart activity, so in a pinch it is better to attempt to save a pediatric victim with what you have available rather than taking no action at all.

Children mostly have Sudden Cardiac Arrests due to respiratory issues or shock. These conditions trigger ventricular defibrillation. The electrical activity of the heart is disturbed. It becomes irregular but is still present. So, a shock administered through an AED device helps to re-stabilize it. When used in a safe and correct way, AED devices can be the best choice of treatment for this kind of condition.

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