If you’ve seen listings for infant CPR courses in your area, consider signing up for one today. You may think it sounds far-fetched, but accidents can and do happen. Infants can stop breathing and become unconscious from choking on food or toys, accidental drowning, and getting tangled up in cords. In fact, Parents.com reports that unintentional choking and suffocation are the leading causes of all injury deaths for infants younger than 12 months.
In a half-day infant CPR class, you will learn infant-specific CPR techniques, choking rescue, when to call 911, and essential first aid skills. While you can read about some of these skills online, the benefit of a class is that they will have life-like dolls for you to practice on directly.
Perhaps the best thing that a class does is arm you with critical knowledge about how to assess and respond to an emergency situation involving child injuries. You’ll learn the potentially life-saving first steps to take while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.
You will learn valuable general first aid information for your baby, which includes:
- Special CPR techniques for infants – This includes the correct combination of chest compressions and rescue breathing that can help restore circulation of blood to the brain when someone has stopped breathing and/or their heart has stopped. This can be caused by choking, drowning, electrical shock, loss of blood, or suffocation.
- Responding to choking – You’ll learn to listen for whether your baby is making noise or not. If they’re able to make some noise and cry, the item is likely just only partially blocking the trachea (“the wrong pipe”) and can be coughed out; whereas a child who can’t make any sound may have its trachea completely blocked and need the Heimlich maneuver’s abdomen thrusts.
- Additional emergency response information – This includes general life-saving first aid tips and handouts about how to treat cuts, burns, etc.
An ideal time to take a class is late in your pregnancy – you can take your mind off of childbirth for half a day and learn some skills that can be useful throughout your baby’s childhood.
Check at your hospital or local community center for class listings. The American Red Cross and American Heart Association also have local chapters that teach classes.
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