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Using an AED

​An AED (automated external defibrillator) is used for someone who is in cardiac arrest. It is a small, electronic device that can analyze a heart rhythm and deliver a shock to help the heart start beating again.

If an AED is available when you are performing CPR, it should be used. Continue chest compressions and rescue breathing while someone else turns on the AED and attaches the pads.

Age for Use of an AED

Many AEDs are designed to be used for children under the age of 8 years old as well as for children older than 8 years and adults. These AEDs come with child pads and adult pads. Use child pads for a child. Use adult pads for a child older than 8 years old. Once the pads are attached, follow the instructions given by the AED.

How an AED Works 

The AED will check the child’s heart rhythm and decide whether or not to deliver a shock. Be sure that no one is touching the child when a shock is delivered. Immediately after a shock is delivered, start chest compressions and rescue breathing again. It is very important to minimize interruptions of rescue breathing and chest compressions.

Take A CPR Class & Learn to Use an AED

To learn more about how to use an AED, take a community class in CPR for parents and caregivers. A class will give you a chance to practice CPR and use an AED. Any attempts at CPR when needed are better than nothing. But a child’s chance of recovery is greatly improved with high-quality CPR.

Last Updated
First Aid for Families (PedFACTs) (Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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