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How AEDs Save Children’s Lives?

When the heart suddenly stops beating, this is known as sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Having an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) around and knowing how to use it can make all the difference. You can learn about CPR and AED from the online CPR/AED course by the American CPR Care Association (AHCA). Through our online certification course, you will learn how to use an AED correctly and at the right moment. It increases the chances of survival of a victim or patient of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

Fortunately, SCA is not frequent among children. As per the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “SCA is unusual in children, it can affect anyone, even those who are physically active. SCA kills roughly 2,000 children and adolescents in the United States each year. It accounts for approximately 3-5% of all deaths in children aged 5 to 19. It is also to blame for 10-15% of all unexpected baby fatalities.”

Overview of an AED

First, let’s understand what is an AED: 

  • AED is a portable device used to diagnose and treat ventricular fibrillation (VF) and pulseless ventricular tachycardia (PVT). 
  • To interrupt these potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmias, the AED sends a shock to the victim’s chest. 
  • This permits the heart to regain a stable pulse. 

An SCA victim has the best chance of survival if CPR and defibrillation are started immediately. If a victim in cardiac arrest is not defibrillated within 5 minutes, his or her odds of survival drop by approximately 50%. Each minute without defibrillation reduces the chances of survival by 7%. AEDs are now available in schools, restaurants, supermarkets, parks, private houses, and many other public sites. When seconds count, having an AED on hand is the quickest method to give life-saving care.

What are the chances of surviving cardiac arrest when using an AED? 

According to a study:

  • Cardiac arrest patients who received a shock from a publicly available AED had a much better likelihood of survival and discharge than those who did not; 66.5 percent versus 43 percent.
  • Cardiac arrest victims who received a shock from a publicly available AED delivered by a bystander had 2.62 times greater odds of survival to hospital discharge and 2.73 times better functional outcomes than those who received an AED shock after emergency services arrived.

Who can use AED on children?

  • AED, when used with CPR, can increase a child’s chances of surviving SCA. The device is simple to use and can be easily administered by people who are not medical professionals. 
  • First responders, such as police officers and firefighters, have been professionally trained in AED use.
  • However, a parent, coach, or student can also use an AED. 
  • Learning what AED is and how to use it correctly is very important especially when your profession involves doing physical activities like sports with children.

With the help of audio instructions and a manual, using an AED becomes easy whenever a child is experiencing cardiac arrest. AEDs include clearly labeled directions for where to lay pads, and a voiceover guides the helper through the procedure. However, all school personnel, including teachers, coaches, and trainers, should receive frequent, formal CPR and AED training. They must ensure they understand the emergency action plan. And learning how to utilize an AED in the event of an emergency must be a part of their profession.

When to use AED on children? 

If a child is suffering from SCA, an AED must be used. Young SCA victims are usually athletes during sporting events or practices, hence AEDs should be placed near gymnasiums or athletic fields. Non-athletes can also suffer from SCA, so AEDs should be strategically distributed throughout the campus. Ensure that the pads are appropriate for the victim, especially if the victim is a child under the age of eight.

Do not use an AED under the following conditions:

  • If the sufferer is soaked or laying in the water
  • If there are flammable items nearby
  • Do not use it in a moving car, since the device may be unable to detect the correct beat
  • Do not use an AED if the victim has a pacemaker (you should be able to tell if they have a bulge on their chest)
  • Do not lay an AED pad on top of medicine patches.
  • Do not use adult-sized pads for children.

How to Use an AED on children?

  • While all AEDs are designed for adults, there are pediatric pads available that allow the energy level to be adjusted. These pads are intended for smaller children (younger than 8 years).
  • Adult pads are appropriate for children aged 8 and over.
  • Adult pads can be used on a child under the age of eight – but they must be applied differently than illustrated on the pads:
    • one on the front of the chest
    • one on the back, so they do not touch
  • Once the pads are attached, follow the AED instructions.


The American CPR Care Association suggests completing CPR/AED online training for parents and caregivers to learn more about how to use an AED. CPR for children and infants differs from CPR for adults. We strongly recommend that you take a CPR and AED certification course. These lessons will teach you how to conduct adult, child, and infant CPR as well as how to use an AED properly.

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