Learn CPR. And teach it to everyone you know, including your elementary aged children.

I’m serious. I have a grand daughter. She’s 20 months old. Her father has known CPR since he was eight years old, because I have worked in the medical field for most of his life, and I have been a CPR instructor on and off for most of that time. You might think eight is a little young to learn CPR, but really, if they learn when they’re young it will stick with them much more so than if they learn it at an older age.

My son, the adorable terror’s father, is CPR certified because he needs it for one of his certifications; he is a certified caregiver although he doesn’t presently work at that job.

Fever seizures run in our family; I was hospitalized just before my first birthday due to an especially prolonged one, and two of my three children suffered from them. They mostly are scary to watch, but not very serious; it happens because little ones’ hypothalamus don’t regulate temperature as well as adults’ do; they can go from normal temperature to 104 in as little as 20 minutes — which causes the seizure. Usually after that the hypothalamus kicks in and the temperature comes down a little, and the child is no worse for wear (although the parents just got three more grey hairs).

That’s how it USUALLY goes. Except apparently, when said adorable terror is lying on the floor drinking her evening bottle.  Dad knew she was a little warm, but she was playing and being her normal self.  He warmed up her bottle (she was weaned at a year old so mom could go back to work) and gave it to her; both Dad and her other grandmother had their backs to her in the kitchen.  Dad apparently sensed something was wrong and turned around.  Adorable terror was blue, staring at nothing, and not breathing.  See, the seizure isn’t a big deal.  The fact that she was drinking the bottle and had a seizure is.  The milk activated the diver’s reflex apparently, and she stopped breathing.  Dad scooped her up and turned her face down over the sink.  She still didn’t start breathing.  He let the milk drain – apparently there was a significant amount – and then began CPR on her; at this point it doesn’t matter if she had a pulse or not; doing compressions on a young healthy heart doesn’t hurt it but she needed the oxygen from the mouth to mouth.  Grandmother called 911; by the time the crew got there she was breathing but unresponsive.  She was released from the emergency room several hours later, after many tests and observation.  Dad said she didn’t talk (this child takes after her father, she talks non stop) for two hours and was still not her normal self for a couple of days.

All the what if’s have gone through all our heads.  Dad is rather PTSD.  The only thing I can say, is thank the Gods above and below that what I taught him so long ago, what he has chosen to keep up on, was a part of his toolkit, and ingrained enough that he was able to act on it.

See, outside of healthcare professionals, the people who need to know CPR the most are family members.  Because believe it or not, that’s who you are most likely to use it on.  Do yourself and your family a favor, and take a CPR class today.  The life you save could very well be your own child’s.

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