This statement is for healthcare professionals who are performing CPR in a healthcare setting and members of the public who are performing CPR in a community setting.
We are aware that paediatric cardiac arrest is unlikely to be caused by a cardiac problem and is more likely to be a respiratory one, making ventilations crucial to the child’s chances of survival. However, for those not trained in paediatric resuscitation, the most important thing is to act quickly to ensure the child gets the treatment they need in the critical situation.
The Resuscitation Council UK Statement on COVID-19 in relation to CPR and resuscitation in healthcare settings advice for in-hospital cardiac arrest is relevant to all ages. Mouth-to-mouth ventilations should not be necessary as equipment is available for bag-mask ventilation/intubation and must be immediately available for any child/infant at risk of deterioration/cardiac arrest in the hospital setting.
For out of hospital cardiac arrest, the importance of calling an ambulance and taking immediate action cannot be stressed highly enough. If a child is not breathing normally and no actions are taken, their heart will stop and full cardiac arrest will occur. Therefore, if there is any doubt about what to do, the guidance in the Resuscitation Council UK Statement on COVID-19 in relation to CPR and resuscitation in first aid and community settings should be used.
It is likely that the child/infant having an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest will be known to you. We accept that doing rescue breaths will increase the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus, either to the rescuer or the child/infant. However, this risk is small compared to the risk of taking no action as this will result in certain cardiac arrest and the death of the child.
4 March 2020