Nasal cannula

a. Consists of a small-diameter tube with two short curved prongs that enter nares; tubing may loop about ears or be taped to cheeks. It is relatively comfortable and allows child to eat and talk. Effective for infants who are obligate nasal breathers and for children who require only low levels of supplemental oxygen.

b. Maximum flow rate is 3 L/min; flows above this rate do not deliver increased oxygen and only serve to irritate nasal mucosa.

c. Percentage of supplemental oxygen delivered (generally < 30%) is highly dependent on minute ventilation and degree of nasal breathing and is obviously lessened in children who have nasal congestion or are crying.

d. Remember when placing prongs into nares that curves should point back and not up, and that tubing poses a strangulation hazard if looped completely around child's neck.

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