How to understand the Basics of PALS and BLS

Understanding the Basics of PALS and BLS
If you want to be ready for emergencies, then you will appreciate understanding the basics of PALS and BLS shared in this article.

Calamities and accidents may strike anyone at any time age – no matter your age or circumstances.

When it does, you will need to take immediate intervention during an emergency, if you want to  increase chances of overall survival rates and lower the risk of neurological damage.

With this in mind, you need to prepare for these emergencies and learn basic life support skills.

No worries if you’re not a doctor and want to learn these life support skills. Much of this kind of learning requires a minimal amount of time and expertise. Unlike pediatric emergencies. Those are far more complicated and tricky to handle. Dealing with pediatric emergencies is a tedious task because the equipment required to resuscitation infants and children is different from adults. Additionally, the guidelines keep updating for adults and children, urging the first responders to acquire certification and keep learning new updates and maneuvers. Plus, the basic symptoms and vital signs also vary depending on different age groups. Therefore, the American Heart Association has laid out a structured adult and pediatric resuscitation protocol.

If you need support to learn more, keep reading.

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With this in mind I put together this quick guide on understanding the Basics of PALS and BLS.

What Is PALS Certification?

Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification enables health care professionals to cater to pediatric emergencies to thoroughly analyze, diagnose and treat infants and children in the nick of time. Numerous training centers aim to train healthcare workers for pediatric emergencies and casualties. If you are interested in seeking PALS, look up the options of pals certification near me, or you may look at acls.com for budget-friendly and convenient bus and pals training options.

Steps For Pediatric Resuscitation

The basic outline of pediatric resuscitation is quite similar to adult resuscitation, with a few exceptions in protocols and techniques. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the resuscitation guideline as laid down by AHA and liaison committee on resuscitation. 

Evaluation and Triage

This phase is the first and most crucial step in an emergency. It is essential to prioritize the sicker individual who will survive with immediate intervention in mass destruction. The less ill individuals who can wait are catered to once the more critical patients are stabilized. Similar rules and regulations are followed in pediatric patients. A brief history may guide through the evaluation and risk stratification. For example, a child with anaphylactic shock or cardiopulmonary arrest requires the utmost urgent response.

A quick evaluation of the child is made in trauma settings based on three criteria, including overall appearance, breathing pattern, and blood circulation. These may help in identifying the more critical patients and save time. Moreover, a brief history is taken with the help of a mnemonic SAMPLES. The record is provided by the guardian or the bystanders and gives an insight into diagnostic workup and treatment.

The mnemonic acronyms for the following:

  • Signs/Symptoms
  • Allergies
  • Medications
  • Past pertinent medical history
  • Last oral intake
  • Events leading up to current illness


Securing an airway is the key step in resuscitation, no matter the underlying etiology of the condition. A brief look at the airway passages shows an obstruction causing the problem. Previously, the protocol was similar in infants and children except that uncuffed endotracheal tubes were used. That’s because the airway passage is narrow and short in children, and cuffed tubes may damage the soft tissues of the child’s airway passage. However, as per the recent updates, cuffed tubes are preferred over uncuffed tubes because of lowered reintubation rates. Also, cricoid pressure is no longer recommended as per recent guidelines because it has no added benefit.


If the airway is not the problem, then breathing is assessed. The respiratory rate varies depending on the child’s age, with a higher rate in younger children and progressively lowering the rate in older children in normal circumstances. In emergencies, respiratory rate is monitored to assess the need for ventilation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The recent updates suggest that a rate of 20-30 breaths per minute must be targeted while performing CPR in children for better neurological outcomes. A bag-mask provides ventilation during CPR with a ratio of 30:2 which means 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths.


The next step is locating any potential bleeding site and applying pressure on the bleeder artery. In case of an absent pulse, CPR is initiated. Recent guidelines suggest early administration of epinephrine at 0.01 my/kg and infusing large quantities of resuscitation fluids in case of septic shock. Chest compression in pediatric patients is performed using gentle methods because children have fragile bones and joints. A two-finger method applies with gentle pressure in the thorax over the sternum in infants. In older children, the heels of the hands are used to apply pressure.

Requisite for Performing CPR

Ensuring personal safety and scene safety is the prime priority for all first responders. While performing CPR, the first responders need to check the vitals to assess improvement or deterioration of the patient’s condition. Capnography assesses if the ETT placement and functionaries are correct or not. Also, serum levels of electrolytes like sodium and potassium may aid in further steps for definite treatment and identify the reversible causes of cardiac arrest. An ultrasound imaging system helps identify any potential internal bleeding or organ damage.

The Endnote

Basic life support and pediatric advanced life support have reduced the mortality rate at the time of crisis and improved the overall neurological outcome of the survivors. Unlike adults, pediatric emergencies encompass cardiac arrest, respiratory distress due to foreign body ingestion, sudden infant death syndrome, and burns. Acquiring PALS certification prepares healthcare providers for the pediatric crisis, even in cases outside the hospital.

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