Common Mistakes to Avoid When Performing CPR

Learning and understanding the fundamentals of CPR could one day help you save someone’s life. Performing CPR requires training, but it also depends on the person to confidently step up and recognize when a situation needs CPR. In the event of an emergency, the stress and severity of the situation can cause people to make some fairly basic mistakes. Being aware of the most common mistakes will help you avoid them and hopefully prevent loss of life.

Forgetting to Tilt The Head Back

Tilting the head back to the correct angle as shown in training is an essential part of CPR. Rescuers jumping into action and starting compression and respiration before placing victim into the correct position is a big mistake. Mouth to mouth will not be effective when the head is not correctly tilted back as the airways become constricted; hence, restricting the flow of oxygen to the lungs.

Not Counting Out Loud

Counting out loud is always demonstrated and emphasized during CPR training classes and it is one of the most common mistakes made when it comes to real life situations. Delivering effective compressions is physically draining and therefore the average person can typically only perform consistently and effectively for 2-3 minutes. If the victim still requires CPR after this time, it is going to be necessary for someone else to step in and take over. By counting out loud, you increase the chances of a successful switch, as the next person already knows which stage of CPR you are at and is able to continue from exactly where you stop.

Failing to Apply Adequate Pressure

Another common mistake is failing to apply adequate pressure while performing potentially life saving compressions. Generally this is out of fear of hurting the victim by causing bruising or a broken rib. Proper CPR training will ensure that you know how to apply the necessary pressure and will teach you the specific methods and positions that must be adopted in order to perform effective compressions.

Failing to Call for Help

Seeking help should be amongst the first action that you take because you need someone standing by, ready to step in and assist as soon as you become too tired to continue. This doesn’t mean leaving the victim while you run around searching for someone but instead you should physically call out for help while you start performing CPR. Also make sure to phone the emergency services immediately so that you have medical assistance as soon as possible and the victim can receive any follow-up attention that they require.

Prioritizing Respiration

Rescuers tend to prioritize mouth-to-mouth over compressions but in reality it is the compressions that tend to do the most good. Follow the exact CPR procedure that you have been taught and never skip stages or prioritize certain aspects.

Forgetting to Assess Response

Another common mistake is forgetting or not properly assessing the victim’s response. Both before and during CPR, is it essential to take the time to properly check the carotid neck vessel for signs of a pulse. Remember that unlike in the movies the victim is not going to gasp into consciousness and jump up feeling normal.