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Your Newborn Baby: Are You Truly Prepared?

By Tim Fisher

As parents-to-be, we tend to prepare for the arrival of our newborn in the usual ways. We decorate the nursery, attend child birthing classes, buy every baby-related accessory known to man, and even research baby names. However, we often overlook the single most important aspect of preparation. How prepared are you in the event of an infant emergency? Can you administer CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, or any other basic life support your child may need prior to the emergency crew's arrival?

THE FIRST FOUR MINUTES

Most city fire departments set emergency response time standards. These standards help ensure the quickest response possible to any emergency. The goal is to have the emergency crew en route to the emergency within sixty seconds of receiving the alarm. Once responding, the rescuers strive to arrive on scene within three to five minutes. Due to many factors, the response time standards will vary slightly from city to city. The very best we can expect is that help will arrive in four minutes. In more rural areas where they depend on volunteers or where stations are spaced further apart, the response times will be significantly longer. It is not unreasonable to have a response time of fifteen minutes or longer in these rural areas.

So why are the first four minutes so critical? It is common knowledge within the medical profession that brain cells begin to die after only four to six minutes without oxygen. Unfortunately, this brain damage is irreversible. Studies have also shown that the survival rate is greatest when CPR is administered within the first four minutes. This is your time to take action.

EARLY INTERVENTION

According to the American Heart Association, CPR can double a victims chance of survival by maintaining vital blood flow to the heart and brain until more advanced care can be administered. You, as a parent, should have the knowledge and ability to perform these simple life support procedures until help arrives. By acting quickly but calmly, you can play a vital role in the survival of your infant.

Preventing infant accidents and emergencies is still the best way to ensure your newborn's safety. Be prepared for the unforeseen emergencies and accidents as well. Contact the American Heart Association, Red Cross, your local fire department, or community college for CPR and first aid classes. Encourage anyone who will be spending time with your newborn to attend the classes with you. Remember, the first four minutes are yours.


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