This article originally was written for The Florida Villager, and has been updated for this site.
It was two days before Christmas and our 11 month old daughter had the flu. She was running around, playing, and seemed pretty happy for a kid with a 102 degree fever, and then we changed her diaper. It was there on the changing table when her eyes rolled into the back of her head that she started seizing. Her jaws were clenched tight, and we couldn’t tell if she was breathing. As her body lay limp we were terrified, and I called 911. While we waited I ran to get my neighbor who is a registered nurse, and she helped with CPR until the paramedics arrived. Those three minutes seemed like an eternity, as we were completely powerless to help our baby.
We learned later at the hospital that her seizures were caused from the fever, called febrile seizures. Her temperature had spiked to over 104, and after a few hours at the hospital she was released. We made the decision that day to learn CPR, but unfortunately life got in the way, and it took me another year to actually follow through, until I found One Beat CPR.
One Beat CPR of Ft. Lauderdale held a CPR fundraiser for Turtle Power for James last summer, to help the family of James Edwards. At 22-months-old, James Edwards nearly drowned after falling into a swimming pool on May 30, 2014. He was administered CPR until the paramedics arrived, but he still has quite a battle to fight to recover. One Beat CPR taught a CPR class at the Swamp at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino that I attended, and everyone that took the class received their CPR certification.
According to Lon Rosen, Owner of One Beat CPR, “Right now drowning is the leading cause of death of children under 8 years of age; it’s actually the number one killer in our children.”
While most of us aren’t swimming right now with winter slamming the country, we will be soon enough. And it’s important for parents and caregivers to learn CPR for all sorts of other household emergencies as well. Would you know what to do if your baby or child started choking or stopped breathing? It can happen to anyone; a toddler who wanders too close to the pool while someone grabs their phone, or a junior varsity football player who suffers heat stroke. The possibilities are endless, and tragedies can occur in the blink of an eye. Our only defense is preparation.
Rosen says, “When 911 is called, they are 4-6 minutes away in a perfect situation. When someone is in cardiac arrest or has stopped breathing, death to the brain and heart will set in. By doing CPR you are circulating the blood in the circulatory system, and keeping the brain alive.”
The certification class that was given at this particular fundraiser took just two hours. Two hours of your time could save a life…and it’s one of the most crucial skills we can have as parents.
If you would like to attend a course, One Beat CPR has a class schedule online, or they can come to you. Much like the fundraiser, they can perform mobile classes for your company, team, school, or family. For more information call 855-ONE-BEAT.
If you don’t live here in South Florida, the Red Cross has instruction videos online, or check with your local hospital which usually administers these classes. As stated on their website, “One quarter of Americans say they’ve been in a situation where someone needed CPR. If you were one of them, would you know what to do?”
We didn’t, and will never forget that image of Emylia convulsing on the changing table while we watched, completely helpless. They are the most precious gifts of all,
So so scary! It really is an important thing to learn and it doesn’t take much time out of your day.
Learning infant and child CPR is so super important and I am happy to say that I know how to administer both! Thank you Red Cross.
Amanda @ The Anti Mom Blog says
100% believer in EVERYONE in the family (mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles…etc!) learning CPR, especially for children & infants. We had a similar situation to yours, our little one had a seizure and stopped breathing. Luckily, remembering the CPR class I took many years ago, I was able administer until paramedics arrived. I have been harassing our whole family to get certified since, it is so very important!! Sorry to hear you had to go through that with yours! Thank you for sharing your experience and informing everyone how vital it is for us parents to get certified! xo
Oh I’m so glad to hear your little one was ok! And yes it is SO important on so many levels…you need to make a family CPR class day and make it a party. I do too!
Julie @ Don't Lick Your Sister says
As a registered nurse, I couldn’t agree more with the importance of this! Everyone really should be trained in both child and adult CPR and like you said, it doesn’t even take much time to learn. Great job getting the word out on this!
Wow – amazing story. So true it is something we all should learn, but never get around to.
Oh Kristen that is terryfying!! I am so glad everything turned out ok! Anneliese had a febrile seizure last week and it scared the ever living crap out of me. She had a double ear infection on top of a virus and her fever spiked too high and bam. It is so very important everyone understands some form of CPR. I haven’t had to use it yet on anyone thank heavens, but I renew the class every few years.
Oh no! Isn’t the scariest thing EVER? I mean terrifying. So glad she is ok…
So scary! I am thankful to be CPR certified for years now. I agree, every parent should be certified… just the basics, just in case.
Gentle Joy says
It is great to raise awareness on this…. we had to learn CPR because one son had medical problems… and it is an important skill… your post is a reminder to me to take a refresher course on it… and have my children trained in it. Thank you.
Yes, I need to take my kids as well! GREAT idea!
good skill to have… done so many stories on it over the years! but when push comes to shove, i always wonder if i could REALLY jump into action???
I think it would b easier to do on someone else’s child…but I wish I knew what to do that day. It was impossible not to freeze.
So scary for you! My friend’s son had the same thing – febrile seizures. Otherwise, totally healthy and it hasn’t happened since.
Drowning, choking, seizing.. so painfully common. Des was choking on pretzel today and I panicked, but luckily he was ok.
We don’t have a pool here or anywhere near us, but I still think it’s VITAL to know CPR.
It is scary to think how quickly a choking incident can become life threatening. I have taken CPR but think I need a refresher course. Thanks for this important reminder.
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
Wow… so very scary.
As former early childhood educators, my husband and I took CPR yearly. Now we take it every 2-3 years. It’s so important to know those skills.
Thanks for sharing your story Kristen.
Before Kyle was born my husband and I took a quick CPR class, but now six years later have forgotten most of the info. We clearly need to get re-certified. Thanks for the reminder.
Oh I hope you do…it really is SO important!
Sending this to my daughter right now with my grandchildren in mind…thanks for sharing with the Thursday Blog Hop! Please stop by to enter the very special giveaway on http://www.over50feeling40.com
Oh I’m so glad…it can happen to anyone!
Katherines Corner says
This is a MUST READ post. I am so sorry to learn of your scare though. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. Watch for your feature on Monday xo
Great reminder. We all think this won’t happen to us but it does happen.
Christine Walker says
Wow. Such an important post. I remember when we lived in Arizona where virtually every home had a pool, they kept a running tab on how many children drowned each summer. It was horrific.
Yes, so scary!
Raymond Cooper says
You make a good point how CPR training is helpful to have since the leading cause of death for children under 8 is drowning. I could see how CPR training would be even more important to have if you spend a lot of time at the pool or the lake with your kids. Just having the peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared in case of emergency would make getting CPR training worth it in my opinion.