Approximately 16,000 children experience sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in the U.S. each year. To combat this trend, Philips designed its HeartStart automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to be child-friendly. Untrained bystanders can safely use a Philips AED to resuscitate a child who falls victim to SCA.
Originally released in 1996, the Philips ForeRunner was the first pediatric defibrillator to hit the market. Every subsequent HeartStart AED has also been child-friendly, each with more advanced features than the last.
Why Pediatric Defibrillators Are Important
Pediatric defibrillators are intended for use on children younger than 8 years old and weighing less than 55 pounds. They’re even safe for use on infants. These young patients have special defibrillation needs. For instance:
- Children require a lower level of shock than older patients
- Children require different pad placement—pads should be positioned on the center of the chest and back
- Children have different CPR needs—chest compressions should be more shallow than on adult patients
A child-friendly AED will automatically adjust the level of shock for pediatric patients. It will also modify its voice coaching for CPR and defibrillation. Before the ForeRunner, no portable defibrillator had these capabilities. By making these features available, Philips not only made defibrillation more accessible for children but also started a trend that would be emulated by all major AED manufacturers.
Why Philips Pediatric Defibrillators Are the Best
Though most FDA-approved AEDs now have some form of child-friendly accessibility, the Philips HeartStart series is still the best. There are several reasons why.
SMART Biphasic Technology
SMART Biphasic technology was developed by Philips engineers in 1996 and has become the gold standard for automated external defibrillators. This technology alternates the direction of the pulses when shock is delivered; studies have shown it to be safer for the lay user while producing better outcomes for patients.
Rather than shocking the patient at 300 Joules or more (as you would in a clinical environment), Philips AEDs shock adult patients at just 150 Joules and pediatric patients at 50 Joules. The alternating currents allow for greater effectiveness with less energy delivered.
As previously noted, children have different needs when it comes to CPR and defibrillation. Philips HeartStart AEDs are equipped with multiple options to accommodate these needs:
SMART Pads: Most HeartStart AEDs are compatible with the company’s SMART pediatric pads. There’s an easy-to-follow placement diagram on each pad, which not only demonstrates how to apply the electrodes but also features child-specific labeling. These pads will never be confused with adult/standard pads. The pads are designed to accommodate Philips’ patented SMART Biphasic technology.
Infant/Child Key: Some of the newer HeartStart AEDs, like the FRx and FR3, are equipped with a state-of-the-art Infant/Child Key. Just insert the key into the device, and it automatically adjusts the AED coaching and shock delivery without the need for child pads. The key can be used an unlimited number of times and never needs to be replaced.
Total Ease of Use
Philips defibrillators are the first and still the most popular AEDs for lay users. When an AED is placed in a school, daycare center, or other location where children congregate, it’s most likely an untrained individual who will have to respond to an emergency. Philips defibrillators offer unparalleled ease of use with features like:
- Calm, clear voice coaching that begins as soon as the device powers on
- Visual guidance that complements the voice coaching
- CPR assistance tools that help users to achieve the optimal number, depth, and pace of chest compressions; this is especially important when you’re resuscitating small children
Most importantly, Philips has been designing and perfecting pediatric defibrillators longer than anyone else. They know what it takes to ensure the best outcome for young children, and that’s why their HeartStart AEDs are trusted by more businesses, more airlines, and more schools than any other brand.
What’s the Best Pediatric Defibrillator From Philips?
All Philips HeartStart AEDs make excellent pediatric defibrillators.
Just note that if you purchase an older model like the Philips HeartStart OnSite or FR2, you’ll also need to invest in at least one set of pediatric SMART pads (sold separately).
If you’re looking for the best in pediatric defibrillators, we recommend the Philips HeartStart FRx. It’s equipped with Life Guidance CPR coaching for children, and it’s compatible with Philips’ Infant/Child Key (no special pads required). While the Philips HeartStart FR3 also offers these features, the FRx gives you access to them in a more affordable, easy-to-use package.
If you’re looking for child-friendly features at the most affordable price, go with the Philips HeartStart OnSite. Though it does require a set of child pads, you simply won’t find a better value. The device costs only $1,275 and includes an 8-year warranty.
When shopping for pediatric defibrillators, Philips has always been and still remains your best bet.