September, 2014

Resuscitation Is Different For Toddlers

Most high school students have had an opportunity to see–and even learn–mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. But there are certain situations that require you to know more than the basics.

child-swimmingWould you, for example, give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to an infant the same way you would administer it to a child? Is a victim who has just been pulled from icy water treated differently than a victim pulled from warmer water?

Infants Are Special People

When the victim is an infant, there are a number of changes that must be made to resuscitate him or her successfully.

* Volume. The first major difference between adults and infants is, obviously, size. Infants’ lungs are so small that only a puff of air is needed to inflate them. A full breath, given by an adult, could damage an infant’s lungs. Therefore, when giving a breath to an infant, use only the amount of air you can get into your cheeks.

* Head/neck position. Another difference relates to the position of the infant’s head when opening his or her airway. If you were to tilt back the neck of an infant the way you would tilt an adult’s head, the result would be a buckling of the infant’s trachea and a blocked airway. Instead, lay the infant down on a firm surface, keeping the infant’s head in a neutral position with no neck extension at all. You will know if the head position is correct when the air you blow causes the chest to rise. If air does not go in, check the head position. The head may be tilted too far back.

* Sealing the mouth. Since babies are so small, it is very difficult to get a good, air-tight seal if you place your mouth on the baby’s mouth alone. Therefore, when giving artificial respiration to infants, cover the infant’s nose and mouth with your mouth and blow into both openings.

* Pulse check. A baby’s pulse in the carotid artery of the neck is difficult to feel. When taking an infant’s pulse, use the brachial artery on the inside of the upper arm between the elbow and shoulder. Use your fingers, not your thumb, to feel for the pulse.

* Breathing rate. Babies take more breaths per minute than do adults. A person who is resuscitating an adult gives one breath every five seconds, but in infants, one breath should be given every three seconds, or about 20 per minute.

Children Under Age Four

* Head/neck position. As with infants, children’s airways can also collapse if their head is tilted back too far. When tilting the head of a child, start with the neutral position (no head tilt), and then try to give two breaths. If the air does not go in and out, tilt the head slightly farther back and try again. This is called the “neutral plus” position. Continue increasing the tilt until air finally goes in and the chest rises.

* Breathing rate. As you might suspect, the rate of breaths in children is half-way between the adult rate of 12 per minute and the infant rate of 20 per minute. Give a child one breath every four seconds or about 15 breaths per minute.

Cold Water Drowning

“Nobody’s dead until they’re warm and dead.” This statement was made shortly after 4-year-old Jimmy Tontlewicz fell through the ice on Lake Michigan one winter day and plunged into 32 degree F water. It was 20 minutes before divers could find him and pull him to the surface. His skin was gray, no pulse could be found, and he wasn’t breathing. Yet Jimmy recovered because his rescuers knew he was a special case.

Some believe his recovery was due to the mammalian diving reflex. This reflex, which has been tested in seals, is suspected to occur in humans when they are thrown into cold water. When a seal is plunged into cold water, it stops breathing, and its heart rate decreases, reducing the workload on the heart. At the same time, the blood that is still flowing is directed to the heart and brain allowing the mammal to remain submerged for long periods of time with no apparent ill effects. Children submerged in cold water have survived after 30 minutes and more–way beyond the 6- to 10-minute survival rate expected.

This survival rate has important implications for rescuers. If you discover a person who has been submerged in cold water and appears dead, don’t just give up. Begin resuscitation immediately and be aware that he or she may also need CPR. Continue your efforts until help arrives or the victim responds. Many people, particulary children, who appeared dead after cold water drowning, have been successfully resuscitated. Not all victims of cold water drowning can be saved. All of the factors that determine a person’s survival in icy water are not really known.

Someday you might be at the scene of an emergency that requires rescue breathing. Your knowing how to respond both quickly and correctly could literally mean a breath of life.

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Empowering Your Child Starting Today

When sophomore Jamie Lewis was cornered on the stairwell at Lincoln High* he was scared. The four boys who pushed Jamie against the wall warned him again not to report the drug dealing he’d seen a few weeks before. But being scared wasn’t his only feeling. He was mad.

He was tired of being afraid every morning when he came to school. He was tired of feeling that he had no control over what happened around his school or in his life. It was time, he decided, that the majority of students took back the power from a tough–but nevertheless outnumbered–minority.

Jamie didn’t just climb into a phone booth and come out swinging. The first thing he did was go to a youth agency he’d seen advertised on a school bulletin board. The agency specialized in helping kids fight crime. The counselor there said Jamie was on the right track. “What we’re talking about here is believing that you have the right and the might to take back your school. What we’re talking about is something we call empowerment.”

Jamie had never hard the word before. But it was going to become the most potent word in his vocabulary.

Taking Charge of Your Life

Empowerment, as the counselor explained to Jamie, is the process of taking charge of your life. It means no longer feeling helpless. It means believing you can change things. Ultimately, you empower yourself, but it also can happen that another person helps empower you. When your mom says you’re going to have to choose and fix your own lunches from now on, she’s empowering you. You benefit by gaining control; she benefits by gaining freedom.

You can empower others by being positive about their abilities. That helps build their self-esteem. And don’t do things for them that they can do for themselves.

Empowerment is a word that is used in many different contexts. Social agencies feel that empowerment of community people can help them to use their political influence. Empowerment, as used by government, means people helping themselves rather than relying on official resources. Empowerment in the education context means students taking more responsibility for what they learn and how they learn it. Empowerment used by mental health experts means helping people feel confident about managing their own lives. The term is used in business to refer to mid-level employees sharing authority with top-level executives.

The business world, in fact, has refined many of the concepts of empowerment. There’s the idea of “participatory” processes, which means employees take part in planning and decision-making. In some companies, for example, department workers plan their own budgets and set production goals. Business publications now write about “flattened hierarchies.” Think about a hierarchy as being a group of people arranged by rank, with a few leaders at the top making the rules for the many people below. A flattened hierarchy has fewer ranks within it, with more people having a say in what the policies should be.

All in the Family

Empowerment can be especially effective within a family. Delaney, for example, felt she had no say in what her family policies should be. Her father had lost his job, and he and Delaney’s mother fought every day. It seemed to Delaney that she and her family were out of control. She felt trapped in a situation that couldn’t be changed.

Delaney looked for answers from her favorite aunt. “You have the answers within yourself,” Aunt Judith told her. “You have the power to change things that you’re not happy with.”

She helped Delaney see how she could separate herself from her parents’ problem and concentrate on what she wanted for herself. For example, the family had no money to give Delaney to go on the class trip to Washington, D.C. So she got a part-time job. She felt tired a lot of the time, but she paid special attention to eating right and getting exercise. She was also uncomfortable with her feelings of divided loyalty to her parents. So she explained to her parents–and that wasn’t easy–that she didn’t want one of them to tell her tales about the other.

These were giant steps in Delaney’s empowerment. She took responsibility for her own feelings and stopped blaming others for “making” her feel mad or sad or happy.

Taking Responsibility

Empowerment isn’t only for deep problems like gangs in schools or families falling apart. It can be part of everyday growing up, and it seems to have special meaning for teens. That’s the time you may naturally want an oceanful of independence and grownups are meting it out by the thimbleful.

In schools, adults plan curriculum, choose textbooks, hand out assignments, and make judgments in the form of grades. Students can be a lot more independent if they are empowered to take responsibility for their own learning. Empowerment for students might mean deciding what they want to learn (within certain guidelines) and how they want to learn it. That might mean setting up their own committees and planning their own deadlines. The teacher doesn’t give up authority; he or she still sets the direction, but the students figure out how to get there. This is being explored in some schools.

Where it has been tried, it’s harder than it sounds. It takes a lot more effort to set goals and figure out how to implement them than to just follow directions already mapped out by the teacher.

“Students like the concept of this, but not always the responsibility,” says a high school coordinator from the Chicago area. “And it’s a lot more work for teachers, too. They have to teach learning strategies as well as subject matter.”

Home Rule

On an individual level, empowerment starts when we are young. Parents can empower their children to be independent and responsible. When a mother tells her 3-year-old to decide whether he wants a cereal or toast for breakfast, that’s empowerment. When a father tells his daughter to talk to the baseball coach herself if she’s unhappy sitting on the bench, that’s empowerment. It’s giving children the feeling they can have an impact on others, that they are capable of getting what they want for themselves. This is not a new idea; thoughtful parents have used the technique for a long time.

Calling it empowerment emphasizes that it’s a two-way process–one party has power and hands it over; the other party has capability and accepts it. And–defying the rules of mathematics–they both have more than they started with.

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Chances Your Child Makes The Major Leagues? (Hint: It’s Low)

Dave took a quick pass from John, who had just rebounded the basketball under the opponent’s basket. Dave quickly dribbled down the outside of the gym floor, driving for the basket.

The ball dropped through the hoop just as the buzzer sounded, giving Dave’s team a one-point win! Everyone jumped all over Dave, celebrating the win.

Dave scanned the stands through the crowd, looking for the college scouts he knew were there. Like many high school star athletes, he was hoping to play on a college team. And beyond that, who knows. . .?

Sports are very important in the United States. Sports are a source of fun and fitness for millions. For a very few people, playing a sport provides a living.

According to recent statistics provided by the National Federation of State High School Associations, and Ultimate Baseball, more than 1 million boys play high school football; almost 500,000 play basketball; and about 400,000 participate in baseball. From high school to college, the number of participants drops drastically. Only about 11,000 athletes altogether participate in college football, basketball, and baseball.

Some athletes who do go on to play college sports and have successful collegiate careers can indeed look forward to playing in professional sports. However, only about 8 percent are ever drafted by professional teams, and only about 2 percent sign a professional contract. Even signing a contract doesn’t mean that an athlete will make the team.

The Football Odds

There are 28 teams in the NFL, with 45 players on each team. During the NFL draft, each team gets 12 picks. Only 336 college players are drafted each year out of about 15,000 eligible players. Of the 336 drafted, approximately 160 actually make NFL teams.

Many young athletes think that if they make it to the pros, they will be rich. According to the NFL Players Association, the average player’s salary is more than $200,000 a year. Although this looks like a lot of money, most players’ paychecks will stop immediately if they get hurt and are unable to play or they do not make the team.

The Basketball Numbers

Many boys dream of being a Michael Jordan and being a star on a professional basketball team. But here, too, the numbers reveal some hard facts. There are 23 teams in the NBA, and each team carries 12 players. In the United States, there are more than 553,000 boys who participate in high school basketball. Only about 11,550 of these high school players go on to play college basketball at the 730 colleges with basketball teams. These colleges range from junior colleges to major universities. More than 90 percent of the NBA players come from large universities that are classified as Division 1 schools, such as the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) or Iowa, Kansas, Indiana, or Duke. In Division 1 schools, there are 1,320 starting players. The NBA drafts only 161 players each year, and only 50 new players actually make an NBA team.

In the NBA, the average salary is more than $350,000, but players only get that salary when they play.

Baseball’s Major League

Of all professional sports, baseball has the highest average salary of more than $400,000. There are 725 players on the 26 major league teams. Baseball is somewhat different from other professional sports because of its extensive minor league program. Each year, the major league draft selects players for the 26 teams. A player who is drafted very rarely goes directly to the majors. There are more than 4,000 players on 164 teams in the minor league program, and it usually takes several years at the minor league level to tell if a player has the skills to play in the majors. The salary at the minor league level has been described as just barely enough to live on as a single person.

Professional athletics may look very glamorous and high-paying, yet very few people are able to make it to the pros. Athletics are good for people to develop cooperation, leadership skills, and goal-setting, and to learn to deal with success and failure.

Most coaches stress to their athletes that they should set goals that are realistic, achievable, and have a time frame. Some high school athletes will play college sports and a very few will go on to play professional athletics. The Greeks taught centuries ago that a person must live by the “Golden Mean,” which states that a person must keep things in balance. For teen athletes, this means keeping the balance between academics and athletics, for only one out of every 12,000 high school athletes will become a pro.

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