Where to Place Defibrillator Pads on a Child

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) deliver lifesaving treatment to victims of sudden cardiac arrest. The majority of cardiac arrests occur in adults, most commonly due to ischemic heart disease (IHD).

However, children are also at risk of cardiac arrest although the underlying causes are different. Thankfully, pediatric cardiac arrest is rare but increasing awareness has led to campaigns to place AEDs in schools and colleges.

When using an AED on a child, the pad placement may need to be adjusted due to the size of the child. It is important that AED pads are positioned correctly in order to maximize the chance of the shock working.

The American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines advise that children aged one to eight should be treated with pediatric defibrillator pads. Some public access AEDs will come with both adult and child pads.

For small children, pads can be placed front and back. One pad is placed in the center of the chest, and the other pad is placed in the center of the back.

This pad placement involves rolling the child in order to place the pad in the middle of their back. This maneuver should be done as quickly as possible to minimize the delay in the AED being deployed and reduce interruptions in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

Once the pads have been placed, the AED should be used as normal. Follow the voice prompts and continue resuscitation until emergency medical help arrives.

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