Pediatric Tracheostomy and Ventilator Care

About this topic

Doctor with childWelcome to anatomy and assessment of the pediatric airway. This information will serve as a foundation for topics in the following lessons. Knowledge of the pediatric airway will be useful in understanding the care of a child with a tracheostomy or ventilator. There are significant differences between children and adults that can put the child at higher risk for respiratory problems.

A child’s airway is divided into the upper respiratory system and the lower respiratory system. The size of the tracheostomy tube is dependent on the diameter of the airway and the distance to the carina.

Respiratory assessment can be done by looking, listening and feeling to determine if the child’s respiratory status is sufficient or insufficient.

Tools for assessment include the correct sized stethoscope and a cardio/respiratory monitor. A cardio/respiratory monitor is used during sleep, travel and when the child is not closely attended. The goal of cardio/respiratory monitoring is to alert the caregiver to major changes in breathing and heart rate. It is important to know how to use the monitor, what the alarms mean and how to respond to the alarms.

What you will learn

After you complete this lesson you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe the anatomy and function of the respiratory system.
  • Appreciate how differences between the child's and adult's airway can affect the child.
  • Identify and document abnormalities of a pediatric respiratory assessment.
  • Know how to safely use a cardio/respiratory monitor and respond to alarms.

Getting the most from this lesson

To learn more from this lesson we recommend that you approach it in the following way:

  • Read through the information on the home page. The concept viewers give you additional information about the underlined terms.
  • The lecture contains the primary content for the lesson.
  • Work through the learning activity to apply the information from the lecture.
  • You will be ready for the quiz after you have completed all components of the lesson.