Many South Sound families are about to receive a life-saving tool from the American Heart Association.
Starting tomorrow, 50 life-saving infant CPR kits will be delivered to families with children at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit and Tacoma General Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. The first round of kits being delivered is part of 800 AHA infant CPR kits that the American Heart Association will provide.
The AHA’s Infant CPR Anytime kits aim to teach parents, family, friends, and other caregivers how to respond to an infant choking or an infant cardiac emergency.
Each kit contains everything needed to teach the core skills of infant CPR and choking relief. The kits come with an instructional DVD, a baby manikin for practicing breaths and compressions, and a CPR Anytime skills reminder card. The kit is a bilingual tool available in both English and Spanish.
Before being discharged from the hospital, recipients of the kit will watch the video and practice with their own personal manikin. A nurse will review what each family learned and answers questions before they leave. Families can then take the kit with them for further practice and sharing.
Not only will the training tool benefit parents, it also can be used again and again to educate grandparents, babysitters, and anyone else responsible for the child’s care.
The 800 kits are enough to cover the NICU/PICU infants for one year, said American Heart Association community CPR manager Jenny Roberts.
“Because many babies treated in the NICU/PICU have had respiratory distress, heart problems, or infections, educating parents and caregivers in the lifesaving skills of infant choking relief and CPR is essential,” she said.
“For most parents, it is a terrifying experience to leave a hospital for the first time with their newborn. For some parents, this fear is compounded by the difficult reality that they have an infant at high-risk for a cardiac event. Preterm babies also commonly have respiratory challenges due to underdeveloped lungs and apnea.”
Roberts said that because of the high-stress situation, having the tool to continue using at home for review is extremely effective.
She said many communities nationwide have benefited from the Infant CPR Anytime program, but this is the first time a project of this size has been available in Tacoma and it is the first time it is being offered to all families of the most at-risk infants in the community.
The AHA reports that less than 30 percent of children receive CPR before emergency medical responders arrive, and that the chance of survival decreases with every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation.
The CPR kits are provided thanks to a grant from private family nonprofit The Norcliffe Foundation.