Pediatric Advanced Life Support

Management of Pediatric Patients

The Pediatric Advanced Life Support program offered by Regina First Aid is very popular among health care providers who are in pediatrics, meaning they specialize in the management of children. Pediatrics is one of the most difficult specialties, since the bodies of children are immature and need more delicate management. They are also prone to anxiety and acting out if they are parted from their parents for too long.

In CPR, compressions and defibrillation are very different when performed on children. Adjustments have to be made in order to ensure that a child’s ribs do not get fractured or too much electricity is used in defibrillation. This is why pediatric CPR has it’s own separate program from Advanced Cardiac Life Support.

PALS at Regina First Aid

Advanced CPR classes teach trainees how to manage cardiac emergencies in a hospital setting. Pediatric Advanced Life Support training follows the same format as advanced CPR classes, only the focus is on pediatric patients – namely infants, toddlers, and older school-age children. Performing CPR for those three groups of children is also different from one another.

Compressions on infants: Performed using two fingers. Either two thumbs with hands around the chest or the second and third fingers of one hand. Press down by approximately 1 to 1.5 inches.

Compressions on toddlers: Performed using one hand. Place hand in the middle of the chest, between the nipples. Press down by approximately 1.5 inches.

Compressions on older children: The same as compressions on adults.

More details about the PALS program

  • PALS training at Regina First Aid runs for 14 hours.
  • Refresher courses in PALS are available, running for 6 to 8 hours long.
  • PALS certificates are valid for three years.

Technically speaking, expired certificates cannot be renewed. However, a student with an expired certificate who has previously taken PALS training does not have to take the long program again – they can just sign up for the refresher program for PALS and take another set of certification exams.

Certification exams are made up of two parts – written and practical tests. A student has to pass both tests to be awarded a temporary PALS credential. The permanent one will be sent to you within the week of passing the tests.

Health in Canada and Cardiac Arrests in Children

One of the most prevalent risk factors for cardiac disease among children and adults is a high body mass index. That means a person who is overweight or obese. This implies that their diets have too much fat and cholesterol, which can contribute to the build-up of fat in the arteries leading to and from the heart – the characteristics of coronary artery disease (CAD).

However, the most common cause of heart attacks in children is not CAD. Children most often get heart attacks because of respiratory failure. Pneumonia is a prominent cause of respiratory failure in children, especially if left untreated. Asphyxia is term used to describe severe depletion of oxygen supply to the body. Without enough oxygen circulating in the blood, it causes the heart (and other organs) to stop functioning.

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