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CPR for a Child

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CPR FOR A CHILD (Older than 1 year and has not reached puberty)

CPR is the act of pushing hard and fast on the chest and giving breaths to someone whose heart has stopped pumping blood. Pushing on the chest pumps blood to the brain and heart. When your breaths make the child’s chest rise, you know he is getting enough air. One set of CPR is 30 pushes and 2 breaths. 

Use of Hands for Child CPR: You need to push the chest down 2 inches for CPR for a child. If you cannot push deep enough with the heel of one hand, you can use two hands. Two hands: interlock your fingers and place the bottom hand on the center of the child’s chest.

A child who “responds” will move, speak, blink or react in some way when you tap him and ask if he is OK. 

A child who does not “respond” is not breathing and will do nothing when you tap him and ask if he is OK.  

Automated External Defibrillator (AED): An AED has a computer that tells you if a shock is needed to make the heart work properly. The best chance of saving a child’s life is to start CPR right away and use an AED within a few minutes.  Use the AED as soon as you have it. Turn it on and follow the prompts. Use child pads or a child key if available. Use adult pads if the AED does not have child pads.  


  1. Make sure the scene is safe.
  2. Gently tap the child and ask, “Are you OK?” to see if he responds.
  3. Yell for help. If help is available, tell him to phone 9-1-1 first, and to look for an AED.
  4. Turn the child onto his back and place him on a flat, hard surface.
  5. Check breathing – No response + no breathing or only gasping = Give CPR.
  1. Move clothes out of the way.
  2. Place the heel of your hand on the lower half of the breastbone.
  3. Push hard and fast on the chest 30 times.
    • Push straight down on the chest about 2 inches.
    • Push at a rate of at least 100 per minute.
    • Let the chest come back to its normal position between pushes.
  1. Tilt the head back and lift the chin to open the child’s airway.
  2. Keep the airway open. Take a normal breath.
  3. Pinch the nose shut. Cover the child’s mouth with your mouth.
  4. Give 2 breaths (blow for 1 second each). Watch for the chest to rise as you give each breath
PHONE 9-1-1 and GET AN AED:
  1. After 5 sets of CPR, stop and phone 9-1-1 if no one has called.
  2. Get an AED if no one has brought one. If you cannot quickly locate an AED, return to the child and continue CPR after you phone 9-1-1.

KEEP GOING: If you have an AED, turn it on and follow the prompts. If you do not have an AED, keep giving sets of 30 pushes and 2 breaths. Do not stop until the child responds or someone with advanced skills arrives.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 05/2012

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