How to Use an AED on an Infant or Child

How to Use an AED on an Infant or Child


Can an AED be used on an Infant?

Can an AED be used on an infant or small child? The answer is a resounding yes! While the idea of using a device that shocks patients’ hearts back into rhythm may be daunting for many, the AED industry has developed technology specifically designed to treat infants or children under 55 lbs.

Namely the development of pediatric pads, which are smaller and deliver a lesser energy shock when administered. These pads are separate from adult pads and are designed specifically for the use on children.


Can you Use Adult AED Pads on an Infant or Child?

The short answer is – yes. While the larger pads may be more difficult to properly place and a larger shock will be administered, it is objectively better to at least attempt to use the adult pads on an infant/child, since the outcome of Sudden Cardiac Arrest is almost certain death after 10 minutes of occurring. 


Where do I place AED Infant Child Pads?

The American Red Cross outlines exactly how to attach AED Pads to an infant. Always use an anterior/posterior pad placement, meaning place one pad on the center of the infant’s chest and one on the center of the back.

For children over the age of 1 but under the age of 8, it is safe to use the anterior/lateral AED pad placement by attaching one pad to the right of the sternum and below the right clavicle. The other pad will be placed on the left side of the chest a few inches below the left armpit.

How Do You Respond to Infant Sudden Cardiac Arrest?

SCA Aware created the gold-standard ‘Chain of Survival’ on how to properly respond to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. The same logic applies to both infants and adults. 

The links in the Chain of Survival are:

  1. Recognize SCA and Call 911: If a person is unresponsive and not breathing normally, call 911. Follow the emergency dispatcher’s instructions.
  2. Start CPR: Start CPR to triple the chance of survival. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest (100-120 pumps/minute).
  3. Use AED: Use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to restart the heart. Follow the step-by-step audio/visual instructions.
  4. EMS response:  Emergency medical services professionals provide advanced life support and transport to hospital.
  5. Hospital care: Hospital professionals provide integrated post-cardiac arrest advanced care, which can include mild therapeutic hypothermia.
  6. Recovery: Care team addresses the unique physical, social, and emotional needs of survivors and their families, both in the hospital and post hospital discharge.

When to use CPR on an Infant

If an infant or child is unresponsive, not breathing and has no detectable pulse, it’s time to start CPR. 

The rules of CPR for infants are the same as for adults, however, a first responder must take into consideration an infant’s more delicate body when performing compressions to avoid causing serious injury. 

What is the CPR Ratio for an Infant Child?

The CPR Ratio for infants and adults is the same at 30:2, which is 30 compressions followed by two rescue breaths. However, the according to the American Heart Association, ‘hands only’ CPR is acceptable and becoming the standard in the post-COVID world.

AED Devices adapted for use on Children

How do I purchase Pediatric AED Pads?

At AED Brands, we sell pediatric pads for all current devices. To find the correct Pediatric AED Pad for your device, locate the ‘AED Accessories’ tab on the navigation menu and browse under the ‘AED Pediatric Pads’ section.

CPR Classes for Infants and Adults

The CPR, AED, and First Aid Certification course offered by EMS Safety Services, Inc. is OSHA compliant and is approved by federal, state, municipal and private/nonprofit organizations. Click here for a complete description.  This training program may be taught separately or as part of a comprehensive safety course.


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