How to perform child CPR

Child CPR is similar to the adult CPR process but with a few important changes.

D: Danger

Check to see if there are any dangers to yourself or the casualty. Try and make the scene as safe as possible, remember YOU are the most important person.

If the area is too dangerous then stay back and call the emergency services.

R: Response

For children: shout loudly in both ears and tap them on the shoulders

If you do not get a response, then the child is unconscious.

The difference between being asleep and being unconsciousness is that an unconscious child / baby will not wake up. 

A variety of medical conditions and traumatic injuries can cause someone to become unconscious. However at this stage do not worry too much about trying to find out why they are unconscious, your immediate aim is to open their airway.

A: Airway

For children: You need to open the airway by tilting the head backwards and lifting the chin with two fingers as demonstrated in the picture below.

B: Breathing

Keep your hands on the child / baby's head & chin. Place your cheek above their mouth and look at their chest.
Look, listen and feel for regular breathing for up to 10 seconds. You are assessing for normal breathing. The occasional gasping or snoring sound is not regular breathing and should be treated as no breathing.

How to perform CPR on a child

If the baby / child is not breathing, you should call an ambulance and start rescue breaths and chest compressions immediately.

You do not need to check for a pulse, as this often wastes valuable time. If a public defibrillator (AED) is available, then it should be sent for immediately.

1) First deliver five rescue breaths

Open the child's airway using the head tilt / chin lift technique. Pinch the nose and deliver five rescue breaths. Each breath should only last around a second, be cautious not to over inflate the child's lungs.

2) Then give thirty chest compressions

Place the palm of one hand in the centre of the child's chest on the breastbone (sternum). Give thirty chest compressions at a rate of 100 – 120 minute

Child CPR

3) After thirty chest compressions, deliver another two rescue breaths

4) Repeat the cycle of thirty chest compressions to two rescue breaths (30:2)

Only stop CPR if:

  • The child shows signs of life: coughing, breathing etc.
  • You are asked to stop by a healthcare professional (ambulance crew etc.)
  • You become too exhausted to continue
  • The situation suddenly becomes too dangerous

Child CPR demonstration video

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid & CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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