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Can Defibrillators Be Used on Babies

When choosing a defibrillator that is intended to be used on an adult or infant, there are a few factors that can assist in determining which model is preferred. Some models come with Universal Pads, which means the same set or pads can be used on an adult or child , whilst some models come with adult pads, and paediatric pads can be purchased separately.

Paediatric Pads

Many defibrillators on the market come with adult pads suitable for ages 8 and up, with paediatric pads sold separately. In this scenario, the paediatric pads are usually kept in the carry case or nearby, and in an emergency, the adult pads are removed, and the paediatric pads are connected if the defibrillator is intended to be used on an infant.

The process of swapping the pads is very straight forward, however in an emergency, it does take that little bit of extra time, and in an emergency time is important, so any process that can be implemented to reduce that time is welcome.

As an example, if you were requiring the defibrillator for a pre-school or a child care centre, it may be worth considering keeping the paediatric pads connected at all times, with the adult pads being the spare pads to swap if required.

Universal Pads

There are some models on the market such as the LIFEPAK CR2 and the ZOLL AED 3 which come with Universal Pads. These models have a button on the defibrillator that allows the user to toggle between adult or child mode.

This is very handy, as it allows the same set of pads to be used on an adult or child. The defibrillator will lower the amount of joules it will deliver through the pads if the defibrillator is set to child mode. When toggled back to adult mode, the defibrillator will increase the amount of joules it will deliver for an adult.

When in child mode, the defibrillator will lower the joules to 50J. This is common for many brands on the market, even when separate paediatric pads are connected. The LIFEPAK CR2 has an escalating joules capability, where if the 50 joules is unsuccessful, it can automatically increase the level of joules to provide a slightly higher level of shock.

The benefits of Universal Pads are time saving, as it is only one set of pads that need to be maintained. Compared to having adult pads and paediatric pads separately, this means that expiry dates will need to be checked on both sets of pads to ensure they are ready to use in an emergency.

Whilst defibrillators do their weekly self-tests and will alert a user if pads are expired or nearing expiry, the defibrillator will be unable to perform this task for pads that are kept as spare and not connected to it, therefore requiring a visual check. A task usually done when conducting the scheduled maintenance of First Aid kits, or if kit maintenance is performed by a third party provider.

AED pad placement child

Aside from the reduction in the amount of joules being delivered to a child when paediatric pads are connected, or the defibrillator with universal pads is set to paediatric mode, the pad placement differs when applying them to an infant.

With paediatric pads, one of the pads is connected to the front of the infant, and the other pad is connected to the back of the infant. Always follow the instructions or images on the defibrillator for the correct AED pad placement.

For any questions and recommendations, feel free to contact the team at Defibs Direct, we are here to help.

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