Child Health


The procedures described in this article are NOT a substitute for CPR training.


Although you hope you’ll never use cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for a child or infant, it’s important to know the steps so that you can help in the event of a cardiac or breathing emergency.

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is a lifesaving procedure that is done when a child’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped. It involves a combination of chest compressions and rescue breathing (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation which can save a child’s life by restoring blood flow to the heart, brain, and other organs and restoring breathing until advanced life support can be given by health care providers.

Permanent brain damage or death can occur in less than 8 minutes if a child’s blood flow stops, therefore, CPR must continue until the child’s heartbeat and breathing returns.

What causes the heart to stop beating

  • Choking
  • Drowning
  • Electrical shock
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Head trauma
  • Lung disease
  • Poisoning
  • Suffocation

Before administering CPR

In as much as CPR is best when started as quickly as possible, it is important to be certain that it is necessary. It should only be performed when a person isn’t breathing or circulating blood adequately.

  • First be sure that it is safe to approach the child. Check for hazards, such as electrical equipment or traffic. If someone touched an exposed wire and was electrocuted, you’d have to be certain that he or she is no longer in contact with electricity before offering assistance to prevent becoming electrocuted yourself.
  • Once you are sure of your safety, gently stimulate your child and ask loudly: “Are you all right?” Look for things such as eye opening, sounds from the mouth, chest movement, or other signs of life such as movement of the arms and legs.
  • If your child responds by answering or moving, leave them in the position they were found in (provided they’re not in danger) and then get help immediately.

  • If your child doesn’t respond,shout for help and gently turn the child on their back.
  • If the child is under 1 year old:

    • Ensure the head is in a neutral position, with the head and neck in line and not tilted.
    • At the same time, with your fingertips under the point of your child’s chin, lift the chin. Don’t push on the soft tissues under the chin as this may block the airway.

    If the child is over 1 year old:

    • Open your child’s airway by tilting the head and lifting the chin.
    • To do this, place your hand on their forehead and gently tilt their head back.
    • At the same time, with your fingertips under the point of your child’s chin, lift the chin. Don’t push on the soft tissues under the chin as this may block the airway.

    If you think there may have been an injury to the neck, tilt the head carefully, a small amount at a time, until the airway is open. Opening the airway takes priority over a possible neck injury, however.

CPR Steps

The steps involved in CPR include; Chest Compressions, Clearing Airways, and Breathing.

Perform chest compressions:

  • Place the heel of one hand on the breastbone — just below the nipples. Make sure your heel is not at the very end of the breastbone.
  • Keep your other hand on the child’s forehead, keeping the head tilted back.
  • Press down on the child’s chest so that it compresses about one third to one half the depth of the chest.
  • Give 30 chest compressions. Each time, let the chest rise completely. These compressions should be fast and hard with no pausing. Count the 30 compressions quickly: “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30, off”.

 Open the airway. Lift up the chin with one hand. At the same time, tilt the head by pushing down on the forehead with the other hand.

 Feel for breathing. Place your ear close to the child’s mouth and nose. Watch for chest movement. Feel for breath on your cheek. Look, listen and feel for no more than 10 seconds before deciding that they’re not breathing. Gasping breaths should not be considered to be normal breathing.

If the child is not breathing:

  • Cover the child’s mouth tightly with your mouth.
  • Pinch the nose closed.
  • Keep the chin lifted and head tilted.
  • Take a breath, then cover your baby’s mouth and nose with your mouth, making sure it’s sealed. If you can’t cover both the mouth and nose at the same time, just seal 1 with your mouth. If you choose the nose, close the lips to stop air escaping.
  • Blow a breath steadily into the baby’s mouth and nose over 1 second. It should be sufficient to make the chest visibly rise.
  • Keeping their head tilted and chin lifted, take your mouth away and watch for the chest to fall as air comes out.
  • Take another breath and repeat this sequence 4 more times

 After about 2 minutes of CPR, if the child still does not have normal breathing, coughing, or any movement, leave the child if you are alone and call for help

Repeat rescue breathing and chest compressions until the child recovers or help arrives.

If the child starts breathing again, place them in the recovery position. Keep checking for breathing until help arrives.

  • If the child has signs of normal breathing, coughing, or movement, DO NOT begin chest compressions. Doing so may cause the heart to stop beating.

Staying Safe

More often than not, most children require CPR because of accidents and incidents that can be prevented. By putting certain things in place and teaching your children basic safety rules, an accident can be prevented.

Teach your children to swim, watch out for cars while walking on the road, ride a bicycle safely, and to understand the meaning of labels such as “don’t touch”. Make sure your children only play with age appropriate toys and create a safe environment around furniture, electrical outlets and medicine drawers.

Be careful not to assume that your child cannot do certain things. Assume that they can move and pick up certain objects that can be dangerous around the house. Think about what they can do and be prepared.






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