Where to Put AED Pads: A Comprehensive Guide

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AED pads

When it comes to saving lives during a cardiac emergency, every second counts. Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) have become indispensable in such situations, providing crucial electrical shocks to restore a person’s heart rhythm. However, the proper placement of AED pads is vital for their effectiveness. In this article, we will explore the best practices for AED pad placement to ensure optimal outcomes when every second matters.

Understanding AED Pads

AED pads are adhesive electrodes that play a pivotal role in delivering the necessary electrical shocks to a person’s heart. These pads come in various shapes and sizes, such as adult pads and pediatric pads. They are typically color-coded to ensure easy identification during an emergency.

Where to Place AED Pads

Proper pad placement is crucial to ensure the AED delivers the electrical shocks accurately and effectively. To position the pads correctly, follow these simple steps:

  1. Expose the patient’s chest: Remove any clothing or accessories that may obstruct the pad placement and expose the person’s bare chest.
  2. Identify the correct pad locations: Most AEDs have visual indicators or diagrams that guide you on pad placement. If not, follow these general guidelines:
    • For adults: Place one pad on the upper right side of the chest and the other pad just below the left nipple.
    • For children: Place one pad on the center of the child’s back and the other pad on the center of the child’s chest.
  3. Apply the pads: Peel off the adhesive backing from each pad and firmly press them onto the designated locations.
  4. Ensure proper pad adhesion: Make sure the pads are securely attached to the patient’s chest without any wrinkles or air gaps.
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Factors to Consider when Placing AED Pads

While the general pad placement guidelines mentioned earlier are suitable for most scenarios, it is essential to consider certain factors that may influence pad placement. These factors include:

Age and Size of the Patient

When dealing with diverse age groups, it is crucial to adapt the pad placement accordingly. For infants and children, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for pediatric pad placement. In cases where the patient is larger or smaller than average, adjust the pad placement to ensure optimal contact with the chest.

Specific Medical Conditions or Injuries

Certain medical conditions or injuries may require adjustments in pad placement. For instance, if the patient has a pacemaker or an implanted defibrillator, it is recommended to avoid placing the pads directly over the device. Instead, position the pads slightly away from the implanted device to prevent interference.

Environmental Factors

The environment in which the cardiac emergency occurs can also influence pad placement. If the patient is lying on a wet surface, it is crucial to dry the chest area before applying the pads to enhance adhesion. In situations where the patient is in a cramped space, maneuvering the pads onto the designated locations may require some creativity.

FAQ: Common Questions about AED Pad Placement

What happens if AED pads are placed incorrectly?

Incorrect pad placement may result in improper delivery of electrical shocks to the heart, potentially reducing the effectiveness of the AED. It is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines or consult a healthcare professional to ensure correct pad placement.

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Can AED pads be placed over clothing?

Ideally, AED pads should be placed directly on the patient’s bare chest. However, if removing clothing is not feasible due to time constraints or modesty concerns, it is better to apply the pads over clothing than to delay or avoid using the AED altogether.

Are there any specific guidelines for pediatric AED pad placement?

Yes, pediatric AED pad placement differs from that of adults. The manufacturer’s guidelines or pediatric-specific AED pads should be used to ensure proper pad placement for children.


Proper AED pad placement is vital for maximizing the chance of successful resuscitation during a cardiac emergency. By following the recommended guidelines and considering factors such as age, specific medical conditions, and the environment, you can ensure the AED delivers the appropriate electrical shocks to save lives. Remember, every second counts, and correct pad placement can make all the difference in restoring a person’s heart rhythm and increasing their chances of survival.

Implementing these best practices will enable you to confidently use an AED, knowing that you are providing the best possible care in a time-critical situation. With the knowledge gained from this guide, you are now equipped to make informed decisions about where to place AED pads and potentially save lives.