As parents-to-be, we tend to prepare for the arrival of our newborn
in the usual ways. We decorate the nursery, attend child birthing classes,
buy every baby-related accessory known to man, and even research baby names.
However, we often overlook the single most important aspect of preparation.
How prepared are you in the event of an infant emergency? Can you administer
CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, or any other basic life support your child
may need prior to the emergency crew's arrival?
THE FIRST FOUR MINUTES
Most city fire departments set emergency response time standards. These
standards help ensure the quickest response possible to any emergency.
The goal is to have the emergency crew en route to the emergency within
sixty seconds of receiving the alarm. Once responding, the rescuers strive
to arrive on scene within three to five minutes. Due to many factors, the
response time standards will vary slightly from city to city. The very
best we can expect is that help will arrive in four minutes. In more rural
areas where they depend on volunteers or where stations are spaced further
apart, the response times will be significantly longer. It is not unreasonable
to have a response time of fifteen minutes or longer in these rural areas.
So why are the first four minutes so critical? It is common knowledge
within the medical profession that brain cells begin to die after only
four to six minutes without oxygen. Unfortunately, this brain damage is
irreversible. Studies have also shown that the survival rate is greatest
when CPR is administered within the first four minutes. This is your time
to take action.
According to the American Heart Association, CPR can double a victims
chance of survival by maintaining vital blood flow to the heart and brain
until more advanced care can be administered. You, as a parent, should
have the knowledge and ability to perform these simple life support procedures
until help arrives. By acting quickly but calmly, you can play a vital
role in the survival of your infant.
Preventing infant accidents and emergencies is still the best way to
ensure your newborn's safety. Be prepared for the unforeseen emergencies
and accidents as well. Contact the American Heart Association, Red Cross,
your local fire department, or community college for CPR and first aid
classes. Encourage anyone who will be spending time with your newborn to
attend the classes with you. Remember, the first four minutes are yours.
About The Author
Tim Fisher is a retired professional California firefighter and writes
which specializes in invitations for baptism and christening and products
with baby room themes.