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  • Writer's pictureFi Ramos


Updated: Apr 29, 2020

CPR stands for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. It’s a medical procedure that embraces to manually restore the breathing and circulation in someone who’s heart and breathing have stopped due to cardiac arrest.

If bystanders who witness a cardiac arrest perform CPR, sufficient blood containing oxygen will reach the brain, heart and other organs to keep the person alive for several minutes. CPR by itself will not restart the heart, but it ‘buys time’ for the emergency medical services to reach the scene. Effective CPR more than doubles the chance of someone surviving a cardiac arrest.

Chest compression alternating with rescue breaths is the ideal first aid procedure, but for untrained bystanders or those unwilling to give rescue breaths, compression-only CPR (hands only) is a useful alternative.

Read more on CPR FAQ here.

There are many reasons for a baby or child to stop breathing and for their heart to stop beating. In adults it tends to be related to cardiac problems where their heart isn’t functioning. In children it tends to be related to respiratory failure, where their breathing has been affected by lack of oxygen leading to cardiac arrest.

As respiratory problems tend to be the main reason for babies and children needing CPR, 5 initial rescue breaths to be given when initiating CPR. This is one of the main technique variations in paediatric and adult CPR.

A quick assessment of unconsciousness can be established by a tap on the foot or shoulder and calling their name to see if they respond. On a flat and hard surface, open the airway by tilting the head and lifting the chin. Look, listen and feel for a maximum of 10 seconds for normal breathing. If your baby or child is unresponsive and is NOT BREATHING, shout for help and start CPR.

With the airway open, give five initial rescue breaths by placing your mouth over the child's mouth and nose, forming a seal and blowing into their mouth.

Rescue breaths for a child (over 1 year):

  • Tilt the child’s head gently back and lift the chin up with 2 fingers

  • Pinch the soft part of their nose

  • Seal your mouth over their mouth and blow steadily into their mouth. Check that their chest rises. Maintain head tilt chin lift, take mouth away and check for chest to fall as air comes out. You will inflate their tummy if you give too much rescue breaths

  • Do not interrupt compressions by more than 10 seconds to deliver rescue breaths

Rescue breaths for a baby:

  • Care should be taken not to shake a baby

  • Ensure a ‘neutral position’, be careful not to tilt the head too much as you may twist the airway

  • Apply chin lift

  • Take a breath and cover their mouth and nose with your mouth, making sure you have a good seal.

Chest compressions

After the 5 rescue breaths, do 30 chest compressions. Press down firmly (1/3 the depth of their chest), with two fingers in the centre of the chest if it's a baby aged under one, or with the heel of one hand in the centre of the chest for an older child. Compressions to be given at a rate of 100-120 per minute, roughly around 2 compressions per second.

Repeat the rescue breaths and chest compressions until help arrives. If your child starts to breathe, place them in the recovery position until emergency help arrives.


Written by Fi Ramos, Public Health Nurse & First Aid Instructor at Act2care.

Information on this site is evidence based and provided to create awareness and advice only. If you are worried about a condition, seek medical advice.

Theoretical first aid tips are beneficial, however practical demonstrations and exercises are necessary for gaining high standard of first aid knowledge and skills.

If you are interested in gaining first aid skills, contact Fi to find our more about our paediatric first aid classes at

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