AED pads for 'adults' should be used on pupils

Japanese authorities are calling for caution when using an automated external defibrillator, or AED, on an elementary school child. They say that electrode pads meant for children are not powerful enough and that adult pads should be used instead.

An AED is a device that can deliver electric shocks to revive someone from sudden cardiac arrest. It includes electrode pads which are placed on the body. There are two types of pads -- one for adults and one for children. Pads for children deliver weaker shocks and are intended for pre-school children. Children in elementary school or older should be given the pads meant for adults, but this is not widely known.

Last year, teachers at an elementary school in the southwestern prefecture of Miyazaki had trouble deciding which type should be used on a child with sudden cardiac arrest.

Following such a case, resuscitation guidelines by emergency medical caregivers and heart experts say the labels on the pads should be changed to say "elementary school students and older" and "pre-school children."

AED makers say they will follow the request.

The labels of many AEDs in use in Japan have not yet been updated. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency and others are calling for adult pads to be used on elementary school children.