A child is generally regarded as being aged 1 to 8 years. CPR for a child is very similar to that for an adult. If you are unsure, start with the process for child CPR, and if you find it too difficult, treat the patient as an adult.

How you can help

1.    Assess DANGERS

  • Only approach the collapsed person if you believe that it is safe to do so. 
  • Check for any danger in the immediate area, especially traffic, electrical hazards, etc. 


  • If it is safe to continue, check for response by giving a simple command, then grasp and squeeze the shoulders firmly. 
  • Use simple commands such as ‘Can you hear me?’, ‘Open your eyes’, ‘What’s your name?’, ‘Squeeze my hand; let it go’ to find whether they can respond to you in any way. 
  • Moving or making a noise is regarded as a response. If the patient responds, then gently and quietly assess the cause of the apparent collapse. 

If there is no response to your voice or touch,the patient is unconscious and in danger of dyingbecause of their airway becoming blocked.

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3.    Send For Help

  • Call 111 for an ambulance or send someone else to call. 
  • It is important to call an ambulance as soon as possible so that advanced resuscitation assistance is on its way. 

Remember – you will be keeping the person alive with CPR, but they need additional care to start their heart.

If you are on your own, and a phone is not readily available, do CPR for about 1 minute then call for help.

  • If portable, bring the phone with you to the patient.

4.    Open and clear the airway

  • When a person is unconscious their muscles relax. The tongue is a muscle and so relaxes. This is dangerous because the back of the tongue can flop downwards against the back of the airway and block it. This means the patient cannot breathe. 

In any unconscious person it is important to open the airway:

  • Leave the unconscious person in the position found to open and clear the airway.
  • Tilt the head back and lift the chin.
  • If you see anything in the patient’s mouth, use two fingers to sweep it out.
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5.    Check to see whether the patient is breathing  normally

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When the airway is open and clear, check for normal breathing:

  • Look and feel for movement of the lower chest and upper abdomen.
  • Listen and feel for air coming from the patient’s mouth or nose.
  • Feel for movement of the lower chest and abdomen and for the escape of air from the patient’s mouth or nose.
  • Check for normal breathing but ignore occasional gasps which are inadequate to maintain life.

If the patient is breathing, move them and support them on their side with their head tilted back and continually monitor their breathing.

Note that occasional gasps of air are inadequate to sustain life and should be ignored.

6.    If the patient is not breathing normally, start CPR

  • Place the heel of ONE HAND in the centre of the chest.
  • Keep your elbow locked and lean over the patient so your arms are straight.
  • Push down hard and fast 30 times (push down one-third of chest depth).
  • If you find pushing the chest difficult with one hand, place your other hand on top and continue compressions as for an adult.
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Do not worry about pushing too hard – good CPR requires you to push hard and fast.

  • Once you have completed 30 compressions (pushes) on the chest, breathe into the child’s mouth 2 times.
  • Continue with the cycle of 30 chest compressions and 2 breaths until the ambulance arrives.



If you have someone to help you, one person can perform the chest compressions while the other person breathes into the child.

If you are unable to breathe into the child, or uncomfortable with doing so, just perform chest compressions.

Remember – compressing the chest is the most important part of CPR.

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