Pediatric Advanced Life Support

When children experience heart problems, the management for them is very different from managing cardiac emergencies in adults. Especially for cases of pediatric cardiac arrest, pediatric cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is performed very differently from adult CPR. This is why a separate program is available for Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). The PALS program at Victoria First Aid was created in accordance with the course outline of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Any training credential you receive from us will be valid all over the country.

Pediatric Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

When the heart stops beating – colloquially called heart attack, medical term being cardiac arrest – blood stops circulating in the body. Without blood circulation, the organs and tissues in the body become deprived of oxygen. After sufficient time without oxygen, tissue beings to die – which eventually leads to multiple organ failure and death. This condition is fatal to adults, even more so to children.

In order to keep the heart beating, CPR has to be performed. Even basic chest compressions and ventilations are enough to stabilize the victim. However, CPR has to be adjusted when given to children.

For adults

  • Two hands, fingers laced together
  • Position in the middle of the chest, between the nipples
  • Compress by at least two inches
  • Allow chest recoil between compressions

For younger children

  • One hand
  • Heel pressed to the middle of the chest, between the nipples
  • Compress by approximately 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Allow chest recoil between compressions

For infants

  • Two fingers, either two thumbs with hands encircling the chest or the pointer and middle fingers
  • Position fingers in the middle of the chest, between the nipples
  • Compress by a third of the anterior-posterior diameter of the chest
  • Allow chest recoil between compressions

Note: Always start with a cycle of 30 compressions followed by two rescue breaths. When giving rescue breaths, tilt the head back, pinch the nose, and deliver two breaths, waiting for the chest to rise and fall between breaths. Repeat until medical help arrives.

Pediatric Advanced Life Support

The PALS program at Victoria First Aid is a long program, taking 14 hours – which is usually spaced out over two days (or several more). Students are required to have previously taken CPR level C (Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers) before taking PALS training. It costs approximately 270 CAD to take this program. The program is targeted towards people who work with pediatric patients or handle pediatric emergency cases (e.g. healthcare professionals in pediatric wards).

To pass training, students need to attend all the sessions and pass the written and skills tests given after lessons have been completed. PALS credentials are mailed to students after passing the tests; for the meantime, they are given temporary training certificates. Permanent credentials are only valid for three years after they are first issues; students will need to take re-certification classes to receive a new credential (after taking another certification exam).

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