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How To Perform CPR On A Young Child

Having to save a child's life due to choking or some other incident is a scary reality that we all hope we will never have to encounter. If it happens to you, you will want to be prepared. 

This guide will help to explain the basics of CPR, but please don't rely on it as your only source of information. Make sure to take a few hours to take part in an infant and child CPR course too, where you will learn and practice essential life-saving techniques. Visit parentfirstaid.ie for more information.

Here’s the basics of what you need to know about CPR for young children:

Check For Response

  • Speak loudly to the child, ask then to open their eyes.
  • Gently stimulate them by tapping them on the shoulder.
  • Never shake the child.
  • Watch their face for signs of eye opening or movement.

If They Respond

If the child responds by opening their eyes or trying to move:

  • Keep them in the position that you found them.
  • Check for other injuries.
  • Send for help or raise the alarm.
  • Continue to monitor their condition until help arrives. 

If There Is NO Response

  •  Shout loudly for help. 

 Shout for HELP

  • If someone is nearby ask them to wait as you may need assistance.
  • If you are alone, shout for help loudly to try to attract attention, but never leave the child.

Open the Airway 

  • Place one hand on the child's forehead and press gently downward.
  • Place the tips of the fingers under the bony part of the jaw to lift and support the chin.
  • Rotate the head gently backward.

Check for Normal Breathing

  • Look for signs of normal breathing
  • Check for no less than five seconds and no more than 10 seconds.

If they ARE Breathing Normally

  • Turn them into the recovery position as soon as it is practical to do so.
  • Continue to monitor until help arrives. 

If they are NOT Breathing Normally

  • Start with 30 chest compressions.

Give Chest Compressions

  1. Place the heel of one hand over the lower third of the child's breastbone. 
  2. Lift fingers to ensure that you do not press on the ribs.
  3. Position yourself with your shoulder over the chest and with your arm straight. 
  4. Push vertically downward with enough force to compress the chest by one third of its depth.
  5. Repeat at a rate of 120 compressions a minute.
  6. Give 30 effective chest compressions

Combine CHEST COMPRESSION and RESCUE BREATHING

  • After 30 chest compressions stop and give two rescue breaths.

Give Rescue Breaths

  1. Ensure that the airway is open (head tilt - chin lift)
  2. Pinch the soft part of the nose with the index finger and thumb of the hand which is pressing on the forehead.
  3. Take a breath and place your lips around their mouth, ensuring that you have a good seal.  
  4. Blow steadily into their mouth for about one second until you see the chest rise.
  5. Lift your head away whilst maintaining head tilt - chin lift and allow the air to come out of their mouth.
  6. Alternate 30 compressions with two rescue breaths.
  7. If there is no response after two minutes and nobody has called for help, stop and dial 999 for an ambulance.
  8. When you know that help is coming, continue with rescue breathing/chest compressions at a rate of 120 compressions a minute and a ratio of 30 compressions to 2 rescue breaths until help arrives.




Continue CPR until you see signs of life or until medical professionals arrive.

For more information on CPR and first aid, visit parentfirstaid.ie

Please note: The information contained on eumom.ie is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis or treatment by a qualified medical professional. If in doubt, always consult your doctor.

About the Author

Parent First Aid is Ireland's fastest growing and most popular first aid course provider. Designed specifically for parents, grandparents & carers of children, our highly informative two hour class will teach you essential life saving techniques, enabling you to act quickly in the event of a family medical emergency. Click here for more information or to sign up to a class. 

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