PALS Pediatric Life Support: Depth of Chest Compressions

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PALS Pediatric Life Support: Depth of Chest Compressions

What is PALS?

The PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) is a certification requirement for healthcare providers that covers the basics of pediatric life support as well as advanced life support. It is a lifesaving course for those who work with children.

The PALS Course teaches participants how to assess and manage respiratory, cardiac, and neurological emergencies. It also teaches them how to provide care for choking, shock, and other emergencies. The course includes lecture material, skills videos, and algorithms and mnemonics to help you easily recall information. You can learn more about what to expect from a PALS course by reading our blog entry on how to prepare for your PALS certification exam.

According to PALS, How Deep Should You Perform Chest Compressions on Infants and Children?

Chest compressions in PALS are a life-saving technique for infants and children experiencing cardiac distress. Delivering high-quality chest compressions promotes circulation to the brain and other vital organs when the child or infant has a weak or indiscernible pulse.

The depth of chest compressions is important because it can affect the quality of delivery. The depth of chest compressions should be at least two inches deep for children, and one-third of the depth of the chest for infants (about 1.5 inches deep).

The rate of chest compressions is also important, it should be 100–120 per minute.

Chest compressions should continue until the child starts breathing or advanced medical assistance arrives.

Rescue breaths are also a vital part of performing CPR on infants and children as lack of oxygen can lead to cardiac arrest in pediatric patient. You can read more about pediatric rescue breaths by clicking on this article.

PALS: Pediatric Thumb-Encircling Technique Vs. Chest Compressions

pals chest compressions
A rescuer demonstrates the thumb-encircling technique on an infant dummy.

The thumb-encircling technique (see above) is a variation of the traditional technique that is often used on infants or very small children when two rescuers are present. The two thumb-encircling hands technique can be used if the rescuer’s hands are large enough to go around the infant’s chest. They may also provide compressions with the index and middle fingers of one hand placed on the sternum just below the nipples (figure 1).

If the child is too big for the hands to wrap around, then the rescuer will perform one-hand chest compressions with the heel of the hand (see below), or use two hands if the child is larger.

CPR should not be interrupted for an extended period of time.

pals chest compressions
A rescuer demonstrates one-arm chest compressions on a child dummy.

Where Can I Take the Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) Course and Exam Online?

The Medical ProCerts Pediatric Advanced Life Support Certification is an online course that prepares healthcare providers for pediatric emergency care.

It is designed to teach you how to manage and care for children and infants who have life-threatening conditions, as well as how to recognize potential emergencies.

The course is taught by a combination of curriculum prepared by licensed registered nurses and medical doctors, videos, and algorithms designed to help you study and prepare for your exam.

The course concludes with an online exam that you can take whenever you are ready. Successful completion grants you instant access to your PALS certificate.

Medical ProCerts PALS Certification was created in compliance with the latest (2020) AHA and ILCOR guidelines and provides the most up-to-date content to get you certified to the latest medical standard.

Register now and receive 20% off your next PALS recertification, or any other certification offered at Medical ProCerts. Take the PALS exam and get certified today!

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