|Saving a child’s life starts at home|
Saving a child’s life starts at home
Just weeks after giving birth to a happy, healthy baby boy, Shannon Bannen would have to test the limits of her courage to save him from losing his life. Early on an April morning, seven-week-old Keegan started fussing and seemed to be struggling to breathe. Quick to act, Shannon told her husband, Richard, to call 9-1-1.
Then, within seconds, Keegan stopped breathing altogether and his heart stopped beating. “That’s when I started CPR on him.” Less than two minutes later, police arrived followed quickly by emergency personnel. Keegan arrived at hospital where they stabilized him. He was diagnosed with a virus that had shut down his lungs and stopped his heart. “We were so terrified we’d lose him that day that we called our pastor to come baptize him.”
But Keegan survived after spending a month in intensive care. Doctors told Shannon that performing CPR saved Keegan’s life. “He was never without oxygen as long as I was doing those CPR rescue breaths,” she says. “To look at him today,” she says, “you’d never guess that he experienced any trauma.” A series of neurological tests showed no permanent damage to Keegan’s brain and he continues to meet all developmental milestones. Shannon is proud to say that he’s very healthy.
CPR at home
Learning CPR takes very little time and, as Shannon’s story proves, it can make an incredible difference in the future of your life, as well as the lives of those closest to you. The Heart&Stroke CPR Anytime™ for Family & Friends™ kit contains a DVD that follows a step-by-step process on a mannequin. It’s a good tool for parents to learn the two methods of CPR: one method for a child aged one to eight years, and the other method on a person aged nine years and older. The DVD takes about 25 minutes. (The kit costs about $35 plus taxes and shipping.)
The HeartSaver AED course offered by the Heart and Stroke Foundation is another option for parents. It teaches lay rescuers the lifesaving skills of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and relief of choking in adults, children, and infants. Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) can also be a vital tool in saving a child’s life, but knowing CPR alone can mean giving precious minutes to an infant or child in cardiac arrest. Call your local Foundation office for more information.
What to do for a child in cardiac arrest
Heart&Stroke CPR Anytime™ for Family & Friends™ kit points out that there is a vital difference when beginning the chain of survival for children, compared to adults. If you are alone when you see a child stop breathing, you should do five sets of 30 pushes on the chest and 2 breaths into the child’s body through her mouth and nose before you leave the child and call 9-1-1. (With adults, you are instructed to phone for help before starting CPR.)
After the call to emergency services, continue performing more sets of the 30 pushes on the chest and 2 breaths until help arrives. Breaths are very important for children, so watch to make sure the child is receiving enough air to make his or her chest rise.
Learn CPR for the love of your family
As a parent of two children, Shannon says it is vital to learn CPR. She learned as a camp counsellor in her teens and takes refresher courses regularly. “CPR really gives you a sense of empowerment and confidence to handle any emergency situation if you need to,” she says. “Parents, especially, should take CPR. It’s as important as babyproofing your home.”
Learn about the HeartSaver Course.
Click here to order the CPR Anytime™ for Family and Friends kit and learn CPR at home.
Posted November 2008.