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Oxygen - Home Use

(757) 668-7000

Your child will be going home on oxygen. Oxygen will help your child breathe easier while eating and playing. Oxygen is measured in liters per minute (L/min). The doctor will decide how much oxygen your child needs and when it will be needed.

You will be supplied with oxygen equipment by a home supply company. It is very important that you make plans to have the oxygen set up at your home before your child leaves the hospital. Someone from the company will come to show you how to use and care for the equipment. It is best to have all persons who will be caring for your child present for the teaching.


There are many ways that oxygen can be given to your child. The most common ways are by face mask, nasal cannula, and collars.


A small mask fits over the child's mouth and nose. As the child breathes in, he/she will get the oxygen. You will have to make sure that the mask fits snugly over the child's nose and mouth so the oxygen does not leak out.


A small tube fits around your child's face with two (2) tiny tubes that fit into his/her nose. Your child gets oxygen through the tubes. You will have to make sure that both tubes fit into your child's nose and that they are NOT PLUGGED with food or mucus.


An O2 collar fits over your child's trach. Your child gets oxygen through the O2 collar. Be sure to keep the collar over the trach.


  • Post “Oxygen in Use" sign on your front door.
  • No smoking or use within 8 feet of the patient or equipment.
  • Caution should be used with electrical devices or toys that produce sparks.
  • Avoid open flames, matches, stoves, BBQ grills, and space heaters.
  • Do not let persons who have not been trained operate oxygen equipment.


  • Keep tanks in an upright position, in a stand or holder unless otherwise instructed by your equipment company.
  • Store tanks in a dry, cool place but never in a closet or closed in space.
  • Keep tanks away from lit cigarettes or open flames (ex: candles or smoking products in the home).
  • Keep oil or grease away from tanks.
  • Store tanks away from flammable materials (oil, gas or grease).
  • Tanks should not be stored in the trunk of a car.


  • Always use the carrier with a tank.
  • Do not drop, drag or slide tanks.
  • Use the same safety tips in transporting oxygen that you would in storing it.
  • Always secure tanks in a moving vehicle to avoid falling or tipping.


  • Wash the mask, cannula, or collar daily (or more often, if needed) to remove mucus or food.
  • You will need to change the cannula when it becomes discolored and/or hard.


Infants can be bathed with the nasal tubes on. After your infant's bath, remove the old tape and the protective skin barrier (if used). Clean and dry the skin. Apply the new skin barrier and tape at a new site comfortable for your baby. You may also change the skin barrier and tape if it becomes soiled or loose. Do not apply lotion or baby powder to this area. Avoid the use of petroleum based products (Vaseline®, A&D Ointment®, etc.) in and around your child's nose. They can cause burns when used with oxygen.


  • You notice changes in color or breathing patterns not relieved by routine care measures.
  • You have reason to think that your child may be sick, such as cough, runny nose, trouble breathing, vomiting, or puffy eyes.
  • You notice your child is gray or blue.
  • Your child stops breathing; begin CPR and call 911.


If you notice your child's color turning bluish, call your child's doctor. Your child's doctor may want you to increase the amount of oxygen your child is receiving to help this. Your child's doctor will tell you if he/she wants you to increase the liter flow of oxygen or not.

Long term use of oxygen by nasal cannula can be very drying to the inside of the nose and some bleeding may occur. Use a water-based product to moisten the nose. With high oxygen flow needs, external humidification devices are available to decrease the nasal irritation.

Disclaimer:This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 05/2018

(757) 668-7000