Friday, May 18, 2012

How to revive an unconscious child on hike

His an unconscious child does not respond to you calling his name, check
to ensure he is breathing. Photo courtesy of  Peter Griffin.

Re-awakening child may save life

Should a child in your hiking party faint, your ability to re-awaken them may very well save his life. There are any number of reasons why he might lose consciousness, from going into shock to suffering a head injury. By always being safe, you typically can avoid this problem.

Rescue breathing technique
Should you suspect your child of being unconscious, speak loudly to him, using his name, as gently shaking his shoulders.

If he does not respond, tilt his head back and remove any obstructions from his mouth. Check to make sure he is breathing.

Should he not be, begin the rescue breathing technique. For children, keeping their head tilted and chin lifted, pinch the victim’s nose, take a deep breath, and place your mouth over theirs. Give two breaths every three seconds and see if the chest fully rises and falls.

If the victim begins to breathe, continue rescue breaths at rate of 20 per minute, checking for circulation.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
Should the child not begin to breathe or stops breathing again, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. First, find the point on the chest where rib meets the breastbone. Place the middle finger and index finger of one hand there. Put the palm of your second hand next to the two fingers. With one hand only, press the chest down about 1-1/2 inches five times then provide a rescue breath. Continue this cycle of five compressions to one breath until the child begins breathing or you are too exhausted to continue.

Once the child is breathing, place him in a recovery position. This involves rolling him onto his side. Keep the bottom leg extended but bend the top leg at the hip and knee. Their bottom arm should be bent at a right angle with palm facing up. The top arm is bent so that the cheek can rest on the back of the hand.

Immediately seek medical attention by using your mobile phone to call for a rescue, by sending any adults with you for help, or by signaling for help.

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes.