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How to perform CPR on a child

child cpr

How to resuscitate a child who is aged 1 or more.  This could save a life.



1. Check if the child is responsive.

Gently stimulate your child and try to elicit a response by asking a question.

2. If your child responds by answering or moving:

Leave them in the position they were found in, assess their condition and get help if needed. Reassess the situation regularly.

3. If your child doesn't respond

Shout for help.

Carefully turn the child on his back.

Open your child's airway by tilting the head and slightly lifting the chin.

Try not to push on the soft tissues under the chin as this may block the airway.

If you think there may have been an injury to the neck, tilt the child's head very carefully, a small amount at a time, until the airway is open. Opening the airway takes priority over a possible neck injury.

4. How to check the child is breathing

Look, listen and feel!


  • Look down the chest for any breathing movement
  • Listen at the child's nose and mouth for breathing sounds
  • Feel for air movement on your cheek


If you cannot detect any signs of breathing for 10 seconds, carefully remove any visible obstructions in the mouth and give 5 initial rescue breaths.

How to perform rescue breaths on a child over one year old

  1. Tilt the head and slightly lift the chin.
  2. Close the soft part of their nose.
  3. Open their mouth enough for them to breathe and keep the chin pointing upwards.
  4. Take a breath, place your lips around their mouth and make sure it forms an air-tight seal.
  5. Blow a breath steadily into their mouth for 1 second, watching for the chest to rise.
  6. Keeping their head tilted and chin lifted, take your mouth away and watch for the chest falling.
  7. Take another breath and repeat this sequence four more times. Check that your child's chest rises and falls in the same way as if they were breathing normally.


If the rescue breaths aren't working, the child's airway might be obstructed.


If the child's airway is obstructed

Open the child's mouth and remove any visible obstruction. Don't poke your fingers or any object blindly into the mouth.

Ensure there's adequate head tilt and chin lift, but don't overextend their neck.

Make up to five attempts to achieve effective breaths (during an effective breath, the child's chest will visibly rise). If this is still unsuccessful, move on to chest compressions combined with rescue breaths.


5. Look for signs of life

Look for signs of life such as movement, coughing, or normal breathing.  Irregular breathing is not a sufficient sign of life.

If there are definite signs of life:

  • Continue rescue breathing until your child begins to breathe normally by himself.
  • Turn the child on their side into the recovery position and send for help.
  • Continue to check for normal breathing and provide further rescue breaths if necessary.


If there are no signs of life, start CPR immediately.

Provide 2 breaths after every 30 compressions.

How to perform chest compressions in children over one year

Place the heel of one hand over the lower third of the breastbone.

Lift the fingers to ensure pressure is not applied over the ribs.

Position yourself vertically above the chest and, with your arm straight, compress the breastbone so you push it down 5cm, which is approximately one-third of the chest diameter. The depth of the chest compression is very important.

In larger children, this may be done more easily by using both hands with the fingers interlocked, avoiding pressure on the ribs.

If nobody responded to your shout for help at the beginning and you're alone, continue resuscitation for about one minute before trying to get help – for example, by dialling 999 on a mobile phone.

Continue CPR until

  • your child shows signs of life: normal breathing and movement
  • further qualified help arrives
  • you become exhausted

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