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CPR for Children

Call 911

  • If you’re alone with a child or baby who is unresponsive and not breathing (or only gasping), call 911 after you’ve done 2 minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • If someone else is present, shout for the person to call 911 and then have him locate an AED (a defibrillator) right away while you begin CPR.
  • If a child or baby is unconscious but you see regular breathing, call 911 and wait for help. A breathing child or baby does not need CPR, but one that is not breathing or gasping does.

For adult CPR, see Hands-Only CPR for Adults.

This article is a guideline. It is important to learn CPR to know how to do it correctly. For more information about a CPR course, go to redcross.org or heart.org.

1. Check to see if the child is conscious

  • Make sure you and the child are in safe surroundings.
  • Tap the child gently.
  • Shout, “Are you OK?"
  • Look quickly to see if the child has any injuries, bleeding, or medical problems.

2. Check breathing

  • Place your ear near the child’s mouth and nose. Is there breath on your cheek? Is the child’s chest moving?

3. Begin chest compressions

If the child doesn’t respond and isn’t breathing:

  • Carefully place the child on his/her back. For a baby, be careful not to tilt the head back too far. If you suspect a neck or head injury, roll the baby over, moving his/her entire body at once.
  • For a baby, place two fingers on breastbone. For a child, place heel of one hand on center of chest at nipple line. You also can push with one hand on top of the other.
  • For a child, press down about 2 inches. Make sure not to press on ribs, as they are fragile and prone to fracture.
  • For a baby, press down about 1 1/2 inches, about 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of chest. Make sure not to press on the end of the breastbone.
  • Do 30 chest compressions, at the rate of 100 per minute. Let the chest rise completely between pushes.
  • Check to see if the child has started breathing.
  • Continue CPR until emergency help arrives.

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