Today we went along and participated in the KidzAid CPR Challenge, which was to set the world record for the most people learning pediatric CPR in the same place in an 8 hour period.
I was keen to go along and get involved, it’s something that I’m passionate about myself – I think all parents and even grandparents or casual babysitters – should empower themselves to be able to handle an emergency and maybe save someone’s life.
But then I won tickets from Seeing The Lighter Side of Parenting, so I had even MORE motivation to get up on Friday morning and head into the city with my family. And it was a great day out. There were jumping castles, and entertainment, and super heros, and princesses.
And more princesses.
I SWEAR I didn’t know there would be princesses at the event, and I didn’t know Leia (from our team) was going to be there, so I didn’t know her daughter would be there dressed like Cinderella when I dressed our little Katelyn like Sophia the First.
We also had a bit of fun with the CPR training. Katelyn (I mean Princess Sophia) was very keen to have a go!
Once the official training was underway the presenter, Brionhy Westbrook, explained once you’ve assessed that a person is not responsive, that their airway is clear, but they are not breathing – at this point they are clinically dead.
Not responsive. Not Breathing. Dead.
At this point in the presentation I chewed my nail down so far it started to bleed, because 6 and a half years ago that was my little boy.
And we had no idea what to do.
She had already explained to assess a response they used to recommend you “Shout and Shake” the child – now it’s “Touch and Talk”; you squeeze their shoulder, or hand, clap your hands in front of their face, speak to them, etc to get a response.
6 and a half years ago I held my 11 day old baby boy in my hands, shook him (gently) and I screamed in his face; with no response.
I handed him to my partner – because I couldn’t trust my own eyes. I didn’t believe that could be happening. When my partner started screaming too panic really set in. I ran to the phone and could barely even manage to dial 000.
At the CPR Challenge they explained the next step is to call 000, stay calm, talk to the operator about what is going on, follow their instructions and stay on the phone.
Failed. Failed. Failed and Failed.
I frantically repeated “My baby’s not breathing. My baby’s not breathing” on the phone, as I watched my partner lay our tiny baby boy on the floor and I could see him trying to work out what to do next. Neither of us had pediatric CPR Training. Neither of us knew what we were doing.
Just as I’d managed to calm down enough to give the 000 operator our address my partner panicked completely and he raced out the front door to the car, with our baby in his arms. He’d decided it would be quicker to drive to hospital than wait for an ambulance. I was trapped for a moment between staying on the phone and following my baby. I told the operator we were going to hospital ourselves. I don’t even know what I did with the phone next – hopefully I hung up – then I think I dropped it in the apartment stairwell as I raced out the door after them.
Despite us screwing up in almost every possible way, our little boy started moving his fingers in the car on the way. We lived 3 klms from hospital, so it was a very quick drive at midnight with no cars on the road – but it was still absolutely the wrong choice. When we were at hospital, once our son was assessed and breathing normally, we were gently scolded for our rash decision to drive to hospital instead of staying on the line and waiting for an ambulance.
So – don’t do that. Don’t put yourself in that position where you have no idea what to do. Don’t put your child at risk like we did. Get CPR training. And update it as often as you can, because if you ever need it, it needs to be fresh in your memory, because if you’re anything like me you’ll struggle to even dial three numbers on a phone, let alone remember how many compressions and how to breath.
I’ve heard of mother’s groups pitching in to pay for an instructor for the whole group – so that way everyone is getting it done. Or sometimes schools or play groups organise CPR training days – maybe pitch it to your school council, or Parents and Friend’s committee. The more people who are trained in CPR the safer we all are, because it might not be your child, it might be your neighbour, or a friend’s, or someone on the street. You never know when you might need it – so, please, if you’ve never had CPR training, book it in as soon as possible. You could save a life.