Good to Know: CPR Reminders

in CPR

Thank you so, so  much for the kind words about Pippa.  Kristien and I are very upset and still feel extremely shocked by how quickly it happened.  It helped me greatly to write about and process my feelings and know that others would miss Pippa, too.  Sharing how I felt helped get me through the day… your kind words helped keep us focused on our positive memories.  <3  I’m so sorry to hear that so many of us have recently lost a beloved pet. 


To everyone who asked about Henry – although he was there when it happened, I put him in his crib and closed the door when I started to give Pippa CPR, so he didn’t see much.. at least he didn’t understand much. He keeps asking for her but will probably move on quickly. I am thankful that he can’t really comprehend what happened.


This instance made me aware of how much I need a CPR refresher. A cat’s death is nothing like a human’s death, and performing CPR on Pippa was nothing like performing CPR on another person.  But the moment did make me realize how ill-prepared I am for emergencies, despite being certified in CPR. I wanted to link to some websites that I hope you will visit.  We all need safety reminders every now and then. 


Edited to add:  I’m getting a lot of feedback about how some of the original videos that I linked to are outdated or confusing. The LAST thing I want to do is confuse someone in regards to such an important issue.  So I’m just going to link to some other websites and leave it at that.  Sorry if anyone was confused.  As I said, the intent was to spread information, but that’s not very valuable if it’s out-of-date or overwhelming.  The best course for me is probably just to urge people to get certified.


American Heart Association website on CPR

American Red Cross website on CPR

American Red Cross website on choking


I will definitely be getting re-certified in CPR very soon. Visit the American Red Cross to learn how.



  • Stefanie November 13, 2013, 7:20 am

    I’m a paramedic and I’d like to point out that these are NOT the current guidelines for CPR. In single lay person (ie not a medical team or two people) CPR for an adult, it’s actually NOT recommended to give rescue breaths.

    The American Heart and Stroke Association recognizes that most adult cardiac arrests are truly cardiac events and therefor compressions and early defibrillation are the key to a higher survival rate. There’s also the stigma of giving mouth to mouth (which should NEVER be done), so this has removed that and made people more likely to help.

    If you don’t have a barrier between you and the person, don’t perform any rescue breaths. It’s not just the transmission of disease to the rescuer that is a concern, but also the fact that most patients receiving CPR vomit with no warning, and that you can give them an infection which could hamper their recovery if they do survive the event.

    If there are two people, the patient is an adult, and you have a barrier method, by all means continue the 30:2 ratio, but minimize the time you spend not doing compressions. I’m fuzzy on the statistic I was quoted last time I recertified, but something like 10 seconds not doing compressions means a 15% drop in survivability. It takes 2 minutes to build up the blood pressure from doing compressions and every time you stop it drops again, and this pressure is all that’s maintaining oxygenation to the brain and other organs.

    For children, especially those without a cardiac history, these are usually hypoxic (low oxygen) events, so breaths become more important. Clear any airway obstruction you can, but NEVER delay compressions or defibrillation even for a second in favor of breaths.

    The ONLY thing that can give someone a hope of survival (and then a hope of recovery) is compressions until an AED can be applied and hopefully there’s still a shockable electrical pattern in the heart that may restart it.

    • Caitlin November 13, 2013, 7:23 am

      Oh thank you! I’ll update this post to reflect this immediately. I’m going to add a comment referring to your comment because it was so helpful. Thank you!!!!

    • Victoria November 13, 2013, 8:03 am

      Also, CALL EMS should be in big flashing letters at the top of this post. CPR is minimally helpful at best, and you need to get the victim to advanced medical care ASAP. The worst thing somebody can do is focus on CPR instead of getting a victim to real medical care immediately.

      • Caitlin November 13, 2013, 8:08 am

        Thanks for helping craft the most helpful post possible, guys! All I wanted out of this post is to be helpful and remind people to get trained. I’m going to edit things appropriately.

  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs November 13, 2013, 7:33 am

    So sorry again for your loss Caitlin.
    This is a great post reminding me that I need to brush up on my CPR & First Aid — it’s only been a year since my last certification, but the details fade so quickly when you don’t use them. Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad I haven’t had reason to use CPR or First Aid, but I should be prepared to if needed!

    • Caitlin November 13, 2013, 7:41 am

      Yes, not only do the details fade, but as they learn more info, the rules change. It’s so important to stay up to date. The rules have changed so much since I first certified.

  • Rebecca November 13, 2013, 7:51 am

    I think the intention behind this post is wonderful, and a sweet tribute to your recent loss, but I wonder if it might be slightly irresponsible for someone who isn’t a trained medical professional to write an informational post about how to perform CPR? There’s so much misinformation about CPR, exacerbated by the recent guideline changes, and I would hate for a reader to read this post instead of a credited instructional guide (or instead of taking a class!) and assume they were good to go. Maybe framing the post as a reminder for readers to seek out updated certifications would be better than writing a ‘how-to’, when this is really something best left to professionals to explain.

    Just my two cents, though. I know it’s a fine line in the blog world between blog content and reader responsibility! And like I said, the intention behind this post is very sweet.

  • Grace November 13, 2013, 8:09 am

    I didn’t get a chance to comment yesterday, but I am sorry to hear about the sudden loss of your cat. I can’t imagine how heartbreaking that must be.

    But for this post, I would STRONGLY recommend removing the out-of-date and incorrect information and video on CPR, and just leave the links that Stefanie recommended. I won’t reiterate what Stefanie wrote in her post, but as another health care professional I would say that posting misinformation about the current standards of CPR on your blog does a disservice. And definitely get re-certified! As someone who has performed CPR multiple times, my continued training has been invaluable.

    • Caitlin November 13, 2013, 8:20 am

      Yeah, I think you’re right, Grace. This post is just too complicated and confusing and would be better served to simply link to sites where people can get certified. I think videos can be helpful in emergencies but nothing replaces a professional or a professional’s instruction. Thanks!

  • Runner Girl Eats November 13, 2013, 8:21 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I have lost a pet suddenly before and it was honestly one of the hardest things to go through. Pets are a part of your family and you always want a chance to say goodbye. Thanks for sharing this post, CPR is a very important skill.

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun November 13, 2013, 8:32 am

    Thank you for sharing this Caitlin! Again I am so so so sorry about your loss! It is so hard to lose a pet no matter how it happens!

  • Laura November 13, 2013, 8:45 am

    I definitely need to brush up on my CPR skills. I was certified years ago to coach soccer but I’m sure things have really changed! Maybe you could link to some sites about pet CPR as well?

  • Mandy November 13, 2013, 8:50 am

    I’m confused by this post for several reasons (please take my comment seriously as I am simply concerned for everyone’s well-being and not writing this to be malicious):
    No untrained, unlicensed, or uncertified person should be giving medical advice. It is extremely DANGEROUS. As a registered nurse I highly encourage you not to pass on incorrect medical information/advice to your blog readers. Posting this information as an actual resource on the internet is careless and can lead to serious consequences. Life or death situations should be taken VERY seriously. I have dealt with many cases of permanent damage or death occurring due to incorrect medical procedures being attempted by unqualified people who thought they were helping.
    Also, I, like many of the other readers, were sad to hear about the news of Pippa and how it would affect Henry. It can be traumatic for young kids to see their pet die. In yesterday’s post you said in the comments that Henry was right there while you were performing CPR, but didn’t seem to notice what was going on…but in today’s post you said that you put him in his crib before you started performing CPR…? I hope whatever actually happened did not scare Henry too much and he is okay.
    Sorry for your loss.

    • Caitlin November 13, 2013, 8:55 am

      I hope you saw the edited post! I totally agree with you in hindsight.

      I think he may have seen me do a few breaths but then I put him in the crib. I had to separate him from me and get Kristien pretty quickly. I’m having trouble remembering the order of things because I was so upset, which is why I feel like I was so ill prepared. I was reflecting on it later and I don’t think he saw as much as I originally feared. Things like that go by in such a blur. 🙁 I do think he’s okay though. I’m glad he’s younger, ya know? I can’t imagine explaining this to a 5 year old.

  • Christin November 13, 2013, 9:04 am

    Caitlin, I’m so sorry about Pippa. 🙁

    I also want to say that one of the things I love about you and your blog is how gracious you are when “corrected” or confronted about something. The medical pros who commented above had excellent points, of course, and they expressed them graciously. But a lot of other people/bloggers would have been snippy or defensive. It’s obvious from your response and your edits to the post that you really do just want everyone to be informed in a time of emergency. Just wanted to say that I appreciate you for that (and many other!) reasons. 🙂

    • Caitlin November 13, 2013, 9:07 am

      Thanks Christin. I appreciate it. I’m not perfect about this but I think everyone understood the intent of the post, which is always nice.

  • Anna November 13, 2013, 9:23 am

    Hi Caitlin. Yesterday, I was so impressed that you knew what to do with your cat, and how you reacted. Your handling of this entire situation has been so admirable, as a mother, animal-lover, and blogger.
    I’m a Red Cross certified life guard, but I have never learned how to do CPR on pets (not many pets on the pool deck). I really want to be prepared, we have a small menagerie in my home. I saw on the Red Cross website that there are “Pet First Aid Courses”–was this where you learned what to do in that situation?

    • Caitlin November 13, 2013, 9:33 am

      No I just applied what I know about infant and toddler CPR and kind of crossed my fingers. I would love to take a pet course though. If you take it , will you come back and tell me about your experiment?

      • Anna November 13, 2013, 11:37 am

        There’s only two Pet CPR classes in the US happening in the next month though, and they’re both in NJ–I’m in the Midwest. I’ve called my local Red Cross to ask them to host one in my area soon. Hopefully it’ll work out, and I’ll let you know how it goes!

  • L November 13, 2013, 9:27 am

    This may be one of those “not everything needs to be turned in to an informational blog post” occasions. But it is a good reminder to get our CPR training done or refreshed.

    • Caitlin November 13, 2013, 9:34 am

      I was going to write about my bunion. Should’ve written about that instead 🙂 (just kidding)

  • Abby November 13, 2013, 9:31 am

    Once again you have inspired and motivated me, I need to get into a infant/child CPR course ASAP! I agree 100% with the other readers , you are always so gracious and kind. You have a way that doesn’t come across as defensive or snippy, and I can imagine that’s not easy over the Internet. You are amazing! My thoughts are with you as you grieve sweet Pippa.

    • Caitlin November 13, 2013, 9:35 am

      Haha I know I am not always gracious but I do try, so I appreciate this a lot. Thanks sweetie.

  • Mia November 13, 2013, 9:34 am

    I was so sorry to hear of your loss yesterday. Death in any form is such a powerful force. It really makes you feel like the floor has come out from under you. Especially when it’s unexpected. Since i don’t feel like there are a ton of words that can make you feel better (and i feel like you’re entitled to feel sad,) I simply wanted to extended hugs. You one time replied to a comment i made with “internet hugs” I don’t know exactly why it made me feel better, perhaps because it simply made me feel cared for, but it did. I hope that this can do something similar to you <3 <3

    • Caitlin November 13, 2013, 9:37 am

      Thanks honey. I appreciate it.

  • Stefanie November 13, 2013, 9:42 am

    Good on ya for updating, but I think the original post still had merit. Guidelines are ALWAYS changing, and even medical professionals aren’t always 100% up to date and should always be changing. Depending on where you work you may or may not be able to follow the most up to date guidelines (I know I’m bound by my employer to use out of date protocols in some ways).

    The bottom line is something is better than nothing. The survival statistics are absolutely terrible for cardiac arrests, even when witnessed in hospital and immediately attended to by medical professionals (the best possible scenario). So do whatever you can, whatever you remember and do your best, that’s all you can do.

    Absolutely everyone should certify in CPR and recertify annually. Professionals have to do it annually as well, even if they do CPR on a daily basis (sadly a reality in some places). It’s a skill that you have to use to remember, and since you’re never likely to use it it’s easy to forget if you just do it once in a course.

  • Amanda November 13, 2013, 9:42 am

    Thanks for this post. It reminds me I need to get on board quickly with registering myself and partner for a CPR class since we have a toddler in the house.

  • Anna November 13, 2013, 9:50 am

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss, pets are family members through and through. Although, it appears most people have already touched on this (Stefani hit the nail on the head with everything she said), I feel it is VERY important to stress that random internet searching for CPR how to’s is not the appropriate thing to do and can actual be more harmful to a victim. As a critical care specialist, I use CPR and advanced life support quite frequently and still practice at inservices, etc regularly. Taking an official certification class, keeping current on your certification and continuing to “brush up” on your skills is a neccesity, especially when it involves infants and children. Using this as an entire post reads as not only dangerous, but slighty irresponsible. Perhaps have a professional (a Basic Life Support Instructor from the AHA for example) as a guest would be a better way to provide the appropriate information to your readers.

  • Ali November 13, 2013, 9:55 am

    Thank you so much for being willing to accept the comments from those above and for reminding everyone that a simple CPR course is so important. I know too many parents who have never taken an infant and child CPR course and it scares me. I had to take one for work this past spring and I thought it was silly until I actually was in a situation where I needed it. It was scary but it would have been a lot more scary if I hadn’t been prepared. I hope everyone is doing okay this morning by you. How are Maggie and James doing?

    • Caitlin November 13, 2013, 9:58 am

      Maggie wouldn’t notice is our house fell down but James seems sad. 🙁

      • Ali November 13, 2013, 12:22 pm

        Oh – I feel so bad. I know when we had to put our cat down after only having her a year, my dog was so depressed for a long time. They were best buddies since they were babies. She was so excited when we adopted the cat I have now. Hopefully James comes back around soon.

  • Kristen November 13, 2013, 10:07 am

    I am so sorry to hear about your Pippa! I have to admit I don’t get to read the blog every day (I am busy w/ a little one of my own about Henry’s age), so I was shocked and surprised when I opened it up today. As always, you have a great perspective and as much as you will miss her, remembering the happy, fun times will help the healing <3<3

  • FitBritt@MyOwnBalance November 13, 2013, 10:25 am

    Hi Caitlin. Thanks for the post. This is a great reminder. Also, I would like to remind all readers that Caitlin is a person, not a robot with a keyboard, and while I think you had important things to say in your comments, your delivery was sometimes over-confrontational and condescending. For instance when you use ALL CAPS, it looks like you are yelling at her! Caitlin, you did a great job handling all these comments after a difficult day yesterday. I truly hope you have better second half of the week.

    • Katie November 13, 2013, 11:35 am

      I concur! Sometimes when people are passionate about something (as is good to see with healthcare professionals), they can go overboard and go from helpful to preachy/condescending.

      Caitlin – Thanks for your posts, and I am sorry to hear about Pippa. I have a young dog and would be just devastated to lose her.

      • Jen November 13, 2013, 1:13 pm

        I think the problem is that misinformation in a medical crisis is dangerous and she gave people the wrong information. What if someone used her advice and someone else died because of it. See the post above from the lawyer about representing people who died or had serious injuries from others acting on incorrect information. I think everyone who posted said what they needed to say in a polite, straightforward manner. Misinformation with the potential for serious consequences should be stated as directly as possible. You wouldn’t politely and calmly with a smile ask a child to take their hand out of the garbage disposal or move out of the way of a car? 🙂

        I’m sorry to hear about Pippa. The loss of a pet is always hard.

  • Andrea November 13, 2013, 10:43 am

    Thanks for the reminders, Caitlin! For CPR – just remember, do compressions – and push hard and push fast. You can’t go wrong with that.

  • Kendra November 13, 2013, 10:49 am

    Very good reminder! It is so important to know what to do in an emergency. I had to perform the heimlich maneuver on my Grandpa when he was choking on pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving one year. I was 19 years old at the time and the only one in a room full of 10+ adults that knew what to do! It worked and Grandpa still tells the story about it!

    Thank you for the reminder and for thinking of others during a difficult time for yourself.

    • Caitlin November 13, 2013, 10:57 am

      You’re a hero!!!

  • Ali November 13, 2013, 11:08 am

    Since having Aiden and now that he is eating solids, I’ve realized that I need to refresh my CPR skills too. I read about how to do it again every so often to refresh myself, but a class would be good.

  • Teresa November 13, 2013, 11:26 am

    Caitlin, I’m very sorry for your loss. I loved seeing how Maggie and Pippa were in the crate together and Pippa lying on Henry’s pillow! You have wonderful memories in your heart and in pictures!

  • Rebecca November 13, 2013, 11:30 am

    I should probably get certified in CPR, especially now that I am by myself most nights at work… Never know when something might happen. It’s actually in our manager handbook that all managers should be CPR certified. So. I should maybe get on that. They haven’t said anything, or asked if I am, but it’s probably still a good idea to learn, for work and for life in general.

    I read yesterday’s post (but did not comment) and felt for you. I was having a sad kind of day yesterday, but because it was the fifth anniversary of the death of my best (human) friend. So reading a post about losing someone you loved kind of added to the sad. =\

    • Caitlin November 13, 2013, 11:34 am

      I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. Much love.

  • Nikki November 13, 2013, 1:02 pm

    Caitlin — I meant to post yesterday, but didn’t get a chance to. My heart is broken for you and your family — pets are so special and I just hate the circumstances.

    I wanted to post today to tell you that I think it’s great that you are using this as an opportunity to raise awareness about CPR — it’s definitely something I need to get certified for and will look into it ASAP. I really appreciate you making the relevant updates to ensure you’re sharing the most up-to-date and accurate information.

  • Michelle November 13, 2013, 2:41 pm

    I thought this was a sweet, perfectly timed coincidence:

    New life, and maybe Pippa’s spirit lives on in other families? 🙂

  • Sara November 14, 2013, 9:00 am

    I took an infant/toddler CPR class while pregnant, but I need to re-read my books. I’m still scared if a situation occurred, I would panic and not remember what to do. It’s so hard to know until you are in that situation. More people should be trained!

  • Live November 15, 2013, 5:57 am

    I’m sorry but I’m a little…angry. I’m angry. As much as I respect animals – you lost a cat. I just lost my twin sister to a sudden death…to hear you say losing your cat that you had for maybe a year is like getting a kick in the guts. Lose your best friend, your soulmate, your sister, a mate, a child…then lets see if you put then on the same scale.

    Perspective Caitlin. Get out of your bubble and be grateful. Bless your cat and hope she is at peace and be grateful. Stop the shock.

    • Caitlin November 15, 2013, 9:05 am

      I am extremely sorry to hear about your sister. My heart absolutely breaks for you. I hope you find someone you can lean on in real life. I’ll be thinking of you and your family.

      • April November 17, 2013, 12:17 am

        You are very kind, Caitlin. <3

    • April November 17, 2013, 12:16 am

      I am so sorry for your loss…really, truly, I am. But Caitlin did not compare Pippa’s death to a human loved one, she said it was shocking and hurtful and that she is sad. Even if she had compared it to losing a human loved one, that is HER experience. It has nothing to do with you or your sister. You are the one in a bubble.

      I think your comment comes from the fact that you are hurting, and I understand, but in this situation it is you that needs perspective. Attacking another hurting person is not going to stop your hurt. I hope in time you find peace and healing. Again, so very sorry for the tragedy you are experiencing.

  • Caitlin November 17, 2013, 10:17 pm

    I am in the process of getting CPR certified, of which I never was before… at the age of 26! I am eager to learn!

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