October is Sudden Cardiac Awareness Month, and we want to turn your attention to a topic that we don’t often hear about: sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in children. An SCA is a condition where the heart stops beating, and consequently stops pumping blood to the brain and body. While the average age of SCA victims is 60, this condition can affect any person at any time in their lives, and we’re going to take a closer look at which children are most at risk.
Risk Factors in Children
In adolescents, SCAs are most common in children who are 10-19 years old, but this is a big range. Other indicators that might put a child at risk for an SCA are:
- Known congenital heart disease
- Known abnormal heart rhythms, especially ventricular or atrial arrhythmias
- Undiagnosed cardiac conditions
- Obesity or hypertension
- Family history of known heart abnormalities or other cardiac conditions
- Exposure to drugs, medications, or toxins
Interestingly, athletic activity seems to be another risk factor for SCAs. Two-thirds of SCA deaths in children occur during exercise, making sudden cardiac arrest the leading cause of death for young athletes. So how do you keep your children safe?
Protecting your children from SCA
The best way to ensure your child’s safety is by preparing your family for emergency situations. This means discussing what to do in the event that somebody has an SCA, as well as keeping the proper equipment on hand. Check our resources page to locate local classes to teach you and your family about two step CPR.
Additionally, keeping an AED in your home can make all the difference in your family’s safety. There are plenty of AEDs made for untrained rescuers, so you can choose one that best suits your family’s needs. Children and adults require different defibrillation energies, so it’s best to keep adult and pediatric pads on hand. If you don’t know where to start, AED.US is giving free pediatric pads with every AED purchase right now, which is the perfect one-stop-shop to prepare your home for emergencies. We have plenty of other resources available, so you and your family can keep one another safe!
Written by Guest Contributor