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Baby CPR class at Memorial tackles leading cause of injury death among infants

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- Choking and suffocation are the leading cause of all injury deaths for infants in the U.S.

Memorial Hospital has taken preventative steps with their latest infant CPR class for the community. With only minutes to spare to save a life, would you know what to do?

CPR is something every person should know, because it could be the difference between life and death said medical officials.

"This class is very well tailored to new moms, new parents, anyone who's going to be watching a new infant,” said class organizer Teresa Posada, Memorial's childbirth education coordinator.

The hospital offers an hour-long class three times a year covering the basics of infant CPR.

With choking and suffocation the leading cause of all injury deaths of infants under age one, hospital officials have firsthand knowledge of just how critical education can be to saving a life.

"With our own children we had a choking incident, and thank goodness my husband was trained in it and he knew exactly what to do,” said Posada.

Recognizing signs and what to do for scenarios involving cardiac disease to a drowning incident. A child with a fully obstructed airway will be dead in four to six minutes without help, according to experts.

With one hand behind the shoulder blade and one finger below the nipple line, two fingers should be used to do 30 chest compressions, followed by two breaths; then repeat.

"We want to make sure that they have some reassurance that they're doing the right things right," said CPR instructor and Memorial respiratory therapist Holly Tull. "The more things that we can do proactively, we can keep the kids safer."

And prevention is key.

In 2013, Washington became one of now 26 states that require CPR training for high school graduation. Yet the average adult doesn't know the proper steps for such emergencies.

An ongoing risk, it's invaluable information for grandparents, caregivers, and others around little ones.

"It's one of those things – preparedness,” said Posada. “We want to have those tools so we want to give those tools to our community."

The class also identifies home hazards linked to choking and suffocation.

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Memorial’s next infant CPR class will be in January. A list of other community classes is here.

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