I almost hit a pedestrian last night. Actually, it was nearly five pedestrians. Every one of them was dressed in black, walking single file across the crosswalk. Perhaps that was a sidewalk made of kryptonite because they all seemed to assume superhuman powers when facing oncoming traffic. True story! I saw the first guy only after he turned and gave me that smug “whateva” face you see on ignoramuses when the thought crosses, How dare you drive on his street, Dude? I let up off the gas, after making the decision to take the “high road” by offering a polite pause to let him get safely across the street. What I really wanted to do was knock some sense into him, literally. But it was ten o’clock at night, suburban anywhere USA, and I was anxious to get home. My foot settled back onto the gas pedal just as his buddies all raced across the road (single file) behind him. Yup, there was that look on their faces too. No place for me to go and I thought, this is gonna hurt!
Kids are unpredictable – or maybe it’s anyone younger that me. I suppose it pays to be a little skeptical of almost everyone. That was true for me when I was twenty, skeptical of anyone older than me. Now that I’m much older, it has become easier and more efficient to survey the logic in play around me – that’s what I tell myself anyway. The only frustration with that logic is that common sense has increased, reflexes are slower and at 10:00 pm travelling 50 mph on dark roads heading home – well, that’s just a bad combination.
As we age we get better at predicting in general but that rarely holds true for the unpredictable kid. Through trial after painful error, we come to understand the natural progression of life and hopefully learn from our mistakes. Kids just don’t have the benefit of the life equation of time + experience + pain = learning.
All this raced through my mind as I hit the brakes. My pulse raced, eyes flashing to the road’s shoulder. An old man pushed a shopping cart filled with folded cardboard along the side of the road. He was oblivious to the near certain bad outcome lying ahead of him. Milliseconds compressed and formed this familiar equation of time, experience and pain and I wondered if his heart raced in pace with my own. Just as quickly as they had appeared, these teens were gone – crossing the street on this dark night with the only remnant the racing pulse in my chest.
So often, our small ones are just as spontaneous with life – darting across the roads of life with the same unpredictability as those teens crossing the road in front of my SUV. How often have strange objects been found inside orifices not designed for their keeping? Noses stuffed with beans, quarters swallowed whole or legos stuffed into ear canals – holes waiting to be filled in a child’s mind. But frequently, these spontaneous acts lead to dangerous situations as airways can be occluded with small objects not designed to pass through an opening the size of an adult’s small finger. When these situations occur, emergency response is needed to prevent the child from choking.
Basic Life Support and CPR certification provide the layperson the skills needed to handle a choking scenario. When a higher level of skill is required, Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) protocols are utilized in hospital and prehospital settings.
SureFire CPR provides the training through various courses designed to teach communities and professionals alike in these life-saving skills.