Would you know what to do if your child went into cardiac arrest? Calling 911 should always be the first step, but before medical professionals arrive, immediately performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) will greatly increase his chance for survival. In fact, a recent study by the National Institutes of Health shows CPR to be effective in children and adolescents who suffer from non-traumatic cardiac arrest due to drowning, electrocution, or choking.
When an individual suffers an out-of-hospital heart attack, his survival depends greatly on receiving immediate CPR from a bystander. However, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), less than one-third of these individuals receive the help they need, because most bystanders are untrained in CPR and are afraid they will do something wrong.
CPR is a life-saving technique that helps maintain some blood flow to the brain and heart, and can help "buy time" until paramedics arrive with more advanced care. The American College of Cardiology provides a comprehensive fact sheet on the basics of CPR and instructions for administering compressions for trained and untrained people.