AED Use: How to Apply AED Pads to Children?

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is designed to help those who are experiencing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) to re-establish their hearts’ rhythm. Though the machine is easy to use, it is better for you to receive AED training for a more efficient rescue. However, users might find it challenging to deal with children SCA patients since many AED training only uses adult models. They don’t know how to place the AED pads on children patients’ smaller chests. What’s more, many people are still confused about anterior-lateral pad placement, not to mention pediatric pad placement.   

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How to Place the AED Pads on Children 

No one can anticipate SAC accidents. As such, it is best to learn how to place the AED pads properly on adults and children alike – but more so on children, for only 10% of the children older than 1 year treated for OHCAs survive to hospital discharge[1]

The placement of AED pads on children can be more complicated than on adults. Kids’ heartbeat is faster than adults, and their sizes are smaller, requiring less energy during the shock. In addition, you should place the two pads correctly on the child’s smaller chest to make sure the electric shock flow can accurately go through the heart. Moreover, it is crucial to note that AED pad placement on children varies depending on their weight and age.

  1. For children above 8 years old or 55 pounds 

For this category of kids, the correct pad placement is the anterior-lateral pad placement. This is where you place one on the upper right chest, just above the breast, and the other on the lower left chest, below the armpit. They should adopt this placing method because their chests are usually big enough to leave room for the pads and ensure they are not touching each other.

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  1. For children under 8 years old, or 55 pounds 

Pediatric pads are the ideal and recommended options for children below 8 years of age. Given the fact that children have different sizes of chests, there are two ways to put these pediatric pads on their chests. For children who have small chests, you can apply one pad to the front of the chest and the other to the back. Since their chests are small, the pads won’t touch each other in these locations while still ensuring shock goes through the heart. Otherwise, if a child’s chest is big enough, you can apply both pads to the front of the chest.

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Getting the answer to which pad placement should be used, the next thing to do is to apply the AED pads: 

  • Step 1: Peel off the backings of the pads.
  • Step 2:
    • For children who have small chests: place the left pad on the front chest;
    • For those whose chests are big enough: place the left pad on the lower left side of the chest.
  • Step 3: 
    • For children who have small chests: place the right pad on the back of the child patient;
    • For those whose chests are big enough: place the right pad on the right side of the chest, below the collarbone.
  • Step 4: Connect the pads to the AED (some AED pads may already be pre-connected to the machine).

When there is an emergency and no pediatric pads available, rescuers can use adult pads. However, the individuals should take caution because electric shock that exceeds 10J/kg may be life-threatening to children.[2]

Tips for Effective AED Use on Children 

Since AED delivers a surge of electric shock to the heart, most individuals worry about using the device on children. Luckily, smart AEDs are safe to use on kids under 8 years and sometimes infants, since they can automatically analyze the young patient’s condition and deliver the suitable Joule of electric shock. However, this is not enough to save a child patient effectively. Below are a few tips on how to use AED on a child to rescue lives at a fast speed. 

  1. Use pediatric pads 

Pediatric AED electrodes are the ideal options for children and infants. They work the same way as standard adult pads, but with special adjustments. Such that, it allows an AED device to analyze the victim’s heart, conduct life-saving shocks to the kid’s body and deliver low-level shock with a low energy level, usually 50 joules. 

  1. Do not overlap AED pads 

For the pads to work optimally, it is best to ensure they lie flat on the specified regions and do not overlap. Overlapping AED pads will cause a short circuit, and the discharged electric flow will damage the AED device. 

  1. What if you don’t know the age or weight of a child victim? 

Sometimes it might be challenging to determine the age of a child patient. In such cases, it is recommended to look for any signs of puberty. If you notice any common signs, use adult AED pads. 

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Conclusion 

Using the right equipment and conducting a successful AED operation can help increase the victim’s survival rate. Mindray offers professional AED services to help save the lives of children. Featured state-of-the-art technology to promote the successful resuscitation of patients in non-clinical settings, Mindray defibrillator is among the most effective solution on the market. Contact Mindray today and become part of the Mindray AED success story.

References

[1] Better outcome after pediatric resuscitation is still a dilemma. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2938489/ (Accessed 30 June 2022)

[2] Automatic external defibrillation in a 6 year old. Available at https://adc.bmj.com/content/90/3/310 (Accessed 30 June 2022)

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