Pediatric Cardiac Care Home

Oxygen Therapy at Home

Oxygen Safety at Home

  • No smoking allowed in the house or car with a child on oxygen
  • No open flames allowed within 10 feet of a child on oxygen (cigarette lighters, candles, or fireplaces). Oxygen makes fire burn hotter and faster. A small hot ash or spark can quickly become a blazing fire.
  • Keep oxygen tanks at least 10 feet away from heaters and radiators. The tank can explode if it becomes too hot.
  • Do not leave oxygen tanks in a hot car.
  • Do not bump or knock the valve on the tank. Be careful to secure the tank in the car so this does not happen. 
  • Keep a fire extinguisher available. Make sure everyone knows how to use it.
  • Install smokes alarms on every floor of your house and check batteries often.
  • Tubing from the tank may be long. Place it away from walkways, from beneath rocking chairs, crib side rails and away from areas used by strollers and riding toys.

When to Call the Doctor

Children with heart problems can get sick faster than healthy children. Check your child for signs of trouble breathing. These changes can mean your child has an infection or is not getting enough oxygen. If you notice any of these signs, do the following:

  • Quickly check to make sure your equipment is working properly
  • Is the tank turned on?
  • Do the gauges indicate there is enough oxygen in the tank?
  • Is the flow rate correct?
  • Is the tubing kinked?
  • Is the tubing connected?
  • Is the nasal cannula clogged with mucus?
  • If the equipment checks out ok, increase the oxygen by __liter and call Loma Linda Department of Pediatric Cardiology at (909) 558-4207. The department is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday. During the weekends and after hours (5:00 p.m.-8:00 a.m.) call (909) 558-400 and ask for the pediatric cardiologist on call.
  • If your child is having severe problems, call emergency medical services (911).

Signs of Trouble Breathing

  • Pale or blue color to the lips, around nails, eyes, or soles of feet
  • Changes in breathing:
    • Faster than normal breaths per minute when your child is sleeping or resting.
    • Labored breathing--Check to see if the skin pulls in above the collarbone, between the ribs, or under the ribs.
    • Nasal Flaring--Check to see if nostrils get wider when your child breathes in.
    • Very shallow or deep breathing--Check to see if the left and right sides of the chest move in and out the same.
  • Changes in your child’s behavior--too fussy or too quiet

Weaning Your Child From Oxygen

  • As your child improves, the cardiologist may decrease the amount of oxygen.
  • Your cardiologist will tell you when to wean your child from the oxygen. Do not take your child completely off until your cardiologist tells you to do so.

Check your oxygen supply every morning.

Always call your home care company at least 24 hours before you expect to run out.