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CPR Basics - Topic Overview

The American Heart Association recommends taking a class on how to give CPR and then use the chart below as a reference.

CPR Basics
What to do Recommendations for:
Adults and older children who have reached puberty Young children until the age of puberty Babies younger than 1 year

When to call for emergency help

Call 911 before starting CPR and get an AED, if there is one nearby.

Do CPR for 2 minutes. Then call 911 and get an AED, if there is one nearby.

Do CPR for 2 minutes. Then call 911 and get an AED, if there is one nearby.

If the person is not breathing normally or is gasping, find the spot to do chest compressions.

Place two fingers on the spot where the ribs come together. Put the heel of your other hand just above your fingers on the breastbone.

(See a picture of hand placement for chest compressions camera.gif.)

Place two fingers on the spot where the ribs come together. Put the heel of your other hand just above your fingers on the breastbone.

Place two fingers on the breastbone just below the nipple line.

(See a picture of hand placement for chest compressions on a baby camera.gif.)

How do you give chest compressions?

Use the heel of one hand with the other hand stacked on top of it. Lace your fingers together.

Use the heel of one hand. If you need more force for a larger child, use both hands as you would for an adult.

Use two fingers.

How fast should you do compressions?

Do at least 100 compressions per minute (between 1 and 2 per second).

Do at least 100 compressions per minute (between 1 and 2 per second).

Do at least 100 compressions per minute (between 1 and 2 per second).

How far down should you press the chest?

Press the chest down at least 2 inches (5 cm).

Press the chest down at least one-third of the depth of the child's chest [about 2 in. (5 cm)].

Press the chest down at least one-third of the depth of the baby's chest [about 1.5 in. (4 cm)].

If you are trained in CPR, how many compressions and breaths do you give?

Note: Rescue breathing may be more important to do for children and babies than for adults.

30 compressions, 2 breaths. Repeat this 30/2 cycle until help arrives or person breathes on his or her own.

30 compressions, 2 breaths. Repeat this 30/2 cycle until help arrives or child breathes on his or her own.

30 compressions, 2 breaths. Repeat this 30/2 cycle until help arrives or baby breathes on his or her own.

(See a picture of rescue breathing for babies camera.gif.)

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