Is It Possible to Use Pediatric AED Pads on Adults?

What if you were in the middle of a cardiac emergency, and all you have are pediatric AED pads, but the patient is an adult? It may be tempting to go ahead and use the child's AED pads because it might still be better than nothing. However, this is not necessarily the case. To learn more about this, keep reading below.

Can I Use Pediatric AED Pads on Adults?

The simplest answer is no. Pediatric AED pads are for children, ideally 8 years old and below, weighing only 55 pounds or lower. They deliver only about 50 J of electricity, as opposed to the 150 to 360 J that adults need.

Not only are these pediatric AED pads not effective on adults, but they also pose a risk in certain situations. They could harm the patient further if given such a small shock that would not restart the heart.

Additionally, pediatric AED pads will most likely not stick on an adult's chest, especially if they have chest hair. It is because adult AED pads are made considering chest hair in mind while pediatric AED pads are not.

Can I Use AED Adult Pads on Children?

Now, if the situation were reversed, you can use adult AED pads on children. However, this is considered a last resort only if no pediatric AED pads are available or they have expired.

In cases like this, place the pads properly—one on the centre of the chest at the front and the other on the centre of the back. Ensure the pads do not touch each other, resulting in a much greater electric shock.

Until What Age Can Children Use Pediatric AED Pads?

While there can be some wiggle room in younger children, kids typically 11 years old and up can no longer use pediatric AED pads. This is because they are now developing, and the electricity may no longer be sufficient.

However, if you are unsure how old the child is, you can look for signs of development. These signs can include acne, breast development, facial hair, and more—so if you see these signs, better look for adult AED pads instead.

What Should I Do If There Are No Adult AED Pads Available?

As mentioned before, it is not any better to use pediatric AED pads than nothing. The best action is to have someone perform CPR, and someone else immediately calls 000. If no one has experience performing CPR, it is okay as you can perform compression-only CPR. Just follow the steps below:

  1. Position the victim on their back on a firm surface.
  1. Kneel next to the victim and place your hands on their chest.
  1. Using your body weight, push straight down in the centre of the chest at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute (or to the beat of Stayin’ Alive by Bee Gees)
  1. Allow the chest to rise completely between compressions.
  1. Continue performing CPR until help arrives or the victim starts breathing independently.

Remember, do not hesitate when performing CPR. Any hesitation may result in you not giving enough strength. It is also important to know that you should keep doing CPR, regardless if you hear ribs breaking or not.


It is always best to have the right equipment and be prepared for emergencies. However, if you do not have the right equipment, it is also okay, and you should not blame yourself. Knowing what steps to take is important, and we hope this article will help. 

If you are seeking defibrillator supplies in Australia, you can get them from us at Restart the Heart. Stock up on emergency supplies and make sure you never run out. Get all your defibrillator supplies today from us simply by ordering online at Restart the Heart.