No one wants an emergency neck injury, but being prepared for one can lessen the chances of permanent damage, as well as death.
What to Do - Or, Not to Do
- If someone has suffered a severe neck injury, call 911 for life support and help.
- Do not move the person, especially the head or neck unless failure to do so presents an immediate threat or urgent danger.
Exceptions to ImmobilityYou can move a person with a possible neck injury when:
- Not moving them would be an immediate threat to their life.
- They are vomiting.
- They are choking on blood.
- You need to check for breathing and/or pulse so you can determine if they need CPR. (See CPR below.)
If you HAVE to move a person you suspect has a neck injury, keep their head and neck immobile and move their entire body as one unit. Do the same if you need to roll them over. To roll a victim over, you will need at least two people -- one at the victim's head and one at the feet.
CPR: ResuscitationKnowing how to administer CPR properly is crucial to reacting to an emergency injury with hopes of a good outcome. It can also make the difference between life and death. The Red Cross gives certifying courses in CPR.
The following are a few tips taken from CPR procedures that will help you determine if a person needs CPR. If they do, it is best if someone who has been certified in CPR be the one to administer the CPR.
First, check the person's breathing:
- Position your cheek close to the victim's nose and mouth, look toward victim's chest.
- Look, listen and feel for breathing for 5 to 10 seconds.
Check pulse (circulation).
- Check for carotid pulse by feeling for 5 to 10 seconds at side of victim's neck.
*Note - This article does NOT cover everything you need to know to safely respond to an emergency requiring CPR administration. GET CPR CERTIFIED!