Having access to an AED is a game of “just in case.” While no one expects to use an AED in an emergency, having one and knowing how to use it can potentially save a life. But can the same AED be used on a child who is experiencing sudden cardiac arrest? Here is what you should know about AED’s and children before the unimaginable happens.
Can you use adult AED pads on children? And can you use child AED pads on adults?
Before you can answer these questions, it is important to define what an AED pad does. Sticky electrode pads are connected to lines which attach to the AED. It is through these pads that electricity travels from the AED to the patient, hopefully restoring their heart to a normal rhythm. Children under the age of 8 naturally lead less electricity than adults do to “reboot” their heart rate. Using pediatric AED pads and an AED with a pediatric setting is always preferable in these situations.
However, if the choice is between using an AED with adult AED pads and settings and not using one at all, it is always preferable to use the AED with adult pads and settings. Likewise, since pediatric AED pads do not allow as much electricity to travel from the machine to the patient, they will not be as effective on adults as they would with children. However, if the choice is between using pediatric pads and not using an AED at all, pediatric pads are preferable.
Where do you place AED pads on an infant? Where do you place AED pads on a child?
AED pad placement in children over the age of 8 would be the same as that of an adult, with one pad placed above the right nipple and the other on the left side of the chest, below the left breast. In children between ages 1 and 8, adult AED pads are placed one on the front of the chest, and the other on the back. Some AED’s come with pediatric pads that automatically change the AED to pediatric mode. These pads can be placed one on the front of the chest and the other on the back, as long as the baby’s skin is dry. It is also important to not touch the baby while the AED is checking the baby’s heart rate and begin the life-saving protocols.
Should I buy an AED with pediatric mode?
Many AED manufacturers are creating semi-automatic devices that have pediatric modes that are activated by a dial, button or by plugging pediatric AED pads into the device. While it is tempting to purchase an AED without this lifesaving mode, especially when the device is in an area that typically does not have a lot of children present, it only takes one emergency to justify any additional expense in the device, AED pads, or training.
For more information or to purchase an AED with pediatric capabilities, contact the equipment specialists at Foremost Medical Equipment.