Home may be where the heart is, but it’s also the place where most cardiac arrests occur, putting both the young and the young-at-heart at risk.
To save hearts, the American Heart Association recommends calling 911 to activate emergency medical response; initiating cardiopulmonary resuscitation to help maintain vital blood flow to the brain; defibrillation; and early advanced medical care.
“When a tiny baby or small child faces a life-threatening event such as choking, or a cardiac emergency, they need immediate intervention,” notes Amanda Neely, foundation coordinator, American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate. “Thanks to a special grant program, many of those new families in the western suburbs will have an opportunity to learn the core basics of infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).”
Saving little hearts and lives is the aim of the special grant-funded Infant CPR Anytime™ training program unveiled at Provena Mercy Medical Center, Aurora. Funded in part by a $15,000 grant from the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, more than 750 new parents are expected to be specially trained and provided with Infant CPR Anytime™ kits free of charge.
“Infant CPR Anytime™ is a grant-funded program we’re hoping to expand into other metropolitan hospital systems in the coming year,” she notes. “Already a similar CPR Anytime™ program teaching the basics of adult CPR is in place across the area and an integral part of emergency training at the Chicago Department of Public Health and for other nonemergency city personnel, at the Chicago Public Library and Senior Services.”
Using the American Heart Association’s unique, research-proven “practice while watching” technique for learning the skills of CPR, Infant CPR Anytime™ users practice skills being taught and performed on a DVD.
“An entire household can learn the skills, each at their own pace and on their own time,” Neely explains. “For new parents bringing a tiny baby home for the first time, emergency preparation can be especially vital. The Infant CPR Anytime™ kits allow parents and others who care for small children to learn the core skills of infant CPR and relief of choking in just 22 minutes.”
According to the American Heart Association, the national cardiac arrest survival rate is a dismal five percent and many Americans, including new parents, simply aren’t prepared to perform CPR or respond to another emergency.
Developed in coordination with the American Academy of Pediatrics and using the technology of Laerdal Medical, the $35 Infant CPR Anytime™ kit contains everything needed to learn CPR and to respond to infant choking – a unique inflatable Mini Baby CPR mannequin; an instructional DVD that guides users through each step of the training, from inflating the mannequin, to doing chest compressions and rescue breathing; a foldout quick reference skills reminder; sanitizing wipes; Mini Baby spare lung and practice phone.
Training, Neely adds, is a perfect way for families to learn how to help save the life of a baby facing choking or suffocation emergencies, the leading cause of injury death for infants younger than age 1.
With 1,900 to 14,200 pediatric out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually due to trauma, sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory causes, cardiovascular causes and submersion, training is expected to save both hearts and lives.
“Effective CPR can mean the difference between life and death, buying valuable time,” Neely says. “Without immediate CPR and defibrillation, hope diminishes. The skills needed to save hearts are simple to learn. It simply makes sense to be prepared.”
Each year more than 335,000 people across the country die from coronary heart disease before reaching a hospital or an emergency room. Most of those deaths result from sudden cardiac arrest. When the arrest occurs outside the hospital setting, most victims die because CPR and defibrillation were not provided soon enough.
According to the American Heart Association, which since 1963 has annually trained 11 million potential responders, the vast majority of people in the United States do not know CPR. In most cases, they say, when sudden cardiac arrest occurs, a victim’s heart quivers in uncontrolled rhythm and causes the person to collapse, become unresponsive or experience gentle shaking and stop breathing normally. Death typically follows within minutes, with some 1,000 American deaths each day attributed to sudden cardiac arrest.
Infant CPR Anytime™ kits may be purchased online at www.cpranytime.org or by phone at (877) AHA-4CPR.