Can you use a defibrillator/AED on a baby?

Defibrillator Pads for Children

A common question on our First Aid courses across the North East is whether you can use a defibrillator/AED on a baby.

Shockable heart rhythms requiring defibrillation in children are more rare than in adults. However, they can occur. Therefore, the priority will always be to recognise the need for CPR, to provide high quality CPR and to get expert help – fast.

Most people are aware that an AED can be used on a child – in First Aid terms, that’s someone aged between one and eight years old. Ideally, paediatric/child pads should be used, which reduce the amount of energy to around 50-75 joules.

According to the Resuscitation Council (UK), although there is limited evidence of using defibrillators on infants/babies under the age of one, they recommend that it’s better to use an AED on a non-breathing infant/baby than not.

The Resuscitation Council (UK) suggest,  ‘If possible, use an AED with a paediatric attenuator in infants and children below 8 years (energy reduced to 50-75 J). If this is not available, use the standard AED (for all ages).’

Defibrillators come with spoken instructions and diagrams to guide users where to place the pads and how to deliver shocks. Pad placement is different on infants and children to placement on adults, so it’s important to follow the instructions or let us know if you’re unsure. After all, it’s much better to have a go in a training environment than try to do it for the first time during a real emergency.

It’s worth remembering that where a defibrillator is used within 4 minutes of cardiac arrest, a person has around a 70% chance of survival, whereas if one isn’t used, the chance of survival is reduced to around only 5%. Everyone gets to have a practice with an AED on all of our First Aid courses in Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, Northumberland and beyond.

Thinking about getting an AED? Check out our Complete Buyers Guide to Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). As always, if you have any questions, just get in touch.

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