BLS Basic life support (Latest 2020 AHA)

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AED usage

Automated external defibrillator AED in children

Make sure you’ve read AED usage in adults. Click here to review now.
We’ll discuss important changes in relation to adult AED operation.
This section covers the changes in AED, in children younger than 8 years including infants (under 1yr age).
Well discuss about pads placement and Energy selection in pediatric age group.
You must make yourself familiarized with the specific model available with your facility.


Some AED models come with separate pads designed for use with children which can deliver smaller dosages as needed for kids.
Other models may ask you to use the same adult pads on children with a slight change in regards to placement on the body.
Regarding placement, if you think adult pads will overlap if placed in a similar manner to adults, you may place one pad on the front of the chest and the other on the back of the chest.
Check the image above to understand the placement as marked on the pads.


Regarding energy, Some models will deliver energy based on type of pads attached – Child pads vs Adult pads.
Other models might come with Pediatric dose attenuator which will reduce the energy delivered to the pads. The device sits between the pads and the AED machine.
Some machines have a switch to change to pediatric mode. If you find one, activate it.

What if the child pads are not available and dose attenuator is not provided?
It’s OK to deliver more energy than not to give a shock for shockable rhythms. So, go ahead and use adult pads without attenuator even in kids.
If you are using a manual defibrillator, you may use 4 Joules per kg body weight of energy setting on the machine to deliver a shock. More on this during ACLS training.