There is no substitute for proper training, however, emergencies wait for no one. Use these steps as a guideline to provide CPR to children 1-8 years old.
For babies under 1 year old, do infant CPR.
1. Stay safe
- Children may be infected with contagious diseases.
- If you are concerned about possible exposure to contagious diseases, practice universal precautions and wear personal protective equipment, if available.
2. Try to wake the child
- Gently tap or shake the child's shoulders and call out his or her name in a loud voice. Don't hurt the child, but be aggressive.
- If the child does not wake up, have someone call 911 immediately.
- If no one else is available to call 911 and the child is not breathing, continue to step 3 and do CPR for about 2 minutes before calling 911.
3. Begin chest compressions
- If the child is not breathing, put one hand on the breastbone directly between the child's nipples.
- Push straight down about 2 inches -- or about a third of the thickness of the child's chest -- and then let the chest rise all of the way back up. Do that 30 times, about twice per second.
- If you have been trained in CPR and you remember how to give rescue breaths, go to step 4.
- If not, just keep doing chest compressions and go to step 5.
4. Give the child two breaths
- After pushing on the chest 30 times, cover the child's mouth with your mouth and pinch his/her nose closed with your fingers.
- Gently blow until you see his/her chest rise. Let the air escape -- the chest will go back down -- and give one more breath.
- If no air goes in when you try to blow, adjust the child's head and try again. If that does not work, then skip it and go back to chest compressions (step 3), you can try rescue breaths again after 30 more compressions.
5. Keep doing CPR and call 911 after 2 minutes
- If someone else is there or comes along while you are doing CPR, have that person call 911.
- Even if the child wakes up, you still need to call 911.
- When checking for breathing, if you are not sure then assume the child is not breathing. It is much worse to assume a child is breathing and not do anything than to assume he or she is not breathing and start rescue breaths.
- When giving rescue breaths, using a CPR mask helps with making a proper seal and keeps vomit out of the rescuer's mouth.
- Put a book under the child's shoulders, if you have time, to help keep his or her head tilted back.
- When asking someone else to call 911, make sure you tell them why they are calling. If not, they may not tell the 911 dispatcher exactly what is going on. If the dispatcher knows a child is not breathing or responding, the dispatcher may be able to give you instructions to help. If you call 911, be calm and listen carefully.
For more information, please visit the American Heart Association website (CPR Guidelines).
The information provided is meant to be viewed in non-emergency situations. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 immediately.