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At What Age is it Necessary to Use the Child AED Pads

This blog outlines everything you need to know about pediatric AED pads, pad placement, and AED models that offer the best solutions for responding to Sudden Cardiac Arrest for children and young adults.

Almost all modern public access Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) have separate electrode pads to be used for adults versus children. This article outlines when you need pediatric AED pads and when the adult pads that come standard with most AED’s should be used instead.

Electrode pads are one-time-use, adhesive devices applied to a patient’s chest. They transfer the electric current from an AED (if needed) to the patient’s body and can be used with children.

At What Age is it Necessary to Use the Child AED Pads

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Nearly 600,000 people in the US experience an SCA event every year. This is more than heart disease or strokes combined. SCA is caused by a disruption in the heart’s normal rhythm. SCA is a leading cause of death and disability, yet it can be prevented with early access to an AED and CPR/Defibrillation.

The most important thing you should know about this article is how easily sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) could happen to anyone at any given time, including children and young adults.

It might not seem like you would ever need an AED for a child but sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) but according to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “Each year, SCA claims the lives of over 2,000 children and adolescents in the U.S. and accounts for approximately 3-5% of all deaths in children aged 5-19 years.

During the past decade, there has been about one sudden death per 100 people in the US due to SCA. These numbers are higher for children and adolescents than they are for adults over 20 years old. Many states require all schools to have AED on hand especially during and around athletic events.

The American Heart Association’s 2015 statistics found that there are 6,300 Americans under the age of 18 who had their cardiac arrest assessed by EMS out-of-hospital.

How are electrode pads attenuated?

An attenuator is the opposite of an amplifier. An attenuator is used in certain AED’s or in the electrode pads themselves typically for pediatric patients to reduce the power delivered to the electrodes to adjust for children, infants, and smaller adults. Depending on the model of AED, the attenuation might be pre-set into a separate set of pediatric electrode pads (very common today), built for the sole and exclusive use of pediatric patients, or it might be built into the AED and activated using a button, “key,” or another switching mechanism.

How are electrode pads attenuated

At what age is it necessary to use the child AED pads

AED manufacturers set their own guidelines and definition for when it is necessary to use the child AED pads as well as where do you place the AED pads on an infant? The American Heart Association recommends that pediatric pads should be used on infants and children under the age of 12 years of age. Age-appropriate defibrillator pad placement for infants and children less than 12 years of age is specific to each AED manufacturer.

The American Heart Association’s 2015 statistics found that there are approximately 300,000 people under the age of 18 who had their cardiac arrest assessed by EMS out-of-hospital in 2013.

AED manufacturers set their own guidelines for when it is necessary to use the child AED pads

Pediatric Electrode Pads

Due to the fact that AED’s are designed to use on adult and pediatric patients, certain manufacturers have a different set of pads calibrated for children generally under the age of 8 years of age or anyone less than 55 pounds in weight.

Pediatric Electrode Pads

The careful utilization of an AED is one of the most important aspects of survival after sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). When a person suffers from SCA, it is necessary for someone starts CPR immediately to keep the blood circulating and prevent brain damage.

How Do I apply AED Pads to a Young Child?

When prepping a child for an AED application, one pad should be applied to the front of their chest with the other on their back.

When the pads are in place, follow the instructions on the AED.

An AED is designed to analyze a victim’s heart rhythm, regardless of age. If the AED detects a shockable rhythm, you will be prompted to administer it.

If there is no shockable rhythm detected, the device’s prompt will default to “check for a pulse.” Automatic devices sometimes administer shocks automatically. An AED will not advise or deliver a shock unless the victim’s heart rhythm is one of two possible outcomes within an electrical discharge, which are considered being shockable rhythms.

Do Pediatric Electrode Pads Look Different than Adult Pads?

Most AED manufactures make the pediatric pads look different generally with a different color scheme so as to not confuse the person administering help to the victim. Pediatric electrode pads are typically smaller and instructions and pad placement illustrations will depict a small child or infant. If your AED requires a child/infant key, the key might come with an illustration on it showing where to place the adult size electrode pads for better results.

HeartSine AED’s

The HeartSine samaritan PAD 350P is indicated for use on patients greater than 8 years old or over 55 lbs (25 kg) when used with the HeartSine adult samaritan Pad-Pak™ (Pad-Pak-01 or Pad-Pak-07). The SAM 350P is indicated for use on children between 1 and 8 years of age or up to 55 lbs (25 kg) when used with the samaritan Pediatric-Pak™ (Pad-Pak-02).

Physio-Control CR2

The CR2 by Physio-Control is truly unique in that it uses one set of electrode pads that can be used for adults and children. The front panel of the LIFEPAK CR2 has a rescue button called “Child Mode” that automatically adjusts its rhythm analysis for pediatric patients and with clear pictures on where to apply the electrodes for an adult or child.

Physio-Control CR2

Cardiac Science G5

The Cardiac Science Intellisense pediatric defibrillation pads are recommended for patients 8 years of age or younger, as well as adults who weigh less than 55 pounds (25kg). They are non-polarized, meaning they can be positioned in either position on the chest, saving time and confusion during an emergency. Pediatric pads may also be placed on the chest and back. The Powerheart G5 features a pad connector that automatically recognizes pediatric pads.

Philips Onsite HS1 AED

The Philips Onsite Pediatric SMART Pads M5072A should be used for children under the age of 8 years or individuals up to 55 pounds.

DISCLAIMER: Information and resources found on the websites/blogs are intended to educate, inform, and motivate readers to make their health and wellness decisions after consulting with their healthcare provider. The authors are not healthcare providers. The information contained on this site should not be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.

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