Basic Life Support for Children over 12 months with a Tracheostomy

Disclaimer: This fact sheet is for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for your child.

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Check the area for DANGER to yourself and others.

Check your child for any RESPONSE

  • Squeeze your child’s shoulder and call the child’s name.

  • If no response……

Send for HELP

(call 000 for an ambulance - a bystander can do this for you)


  • Lie child on their back and gently lift chin upwards to be able to see the tracheostomy. 

  • Check tracheostomy, remove humidifier and suction any visible material. A tube change might be necessary to remove a blockage.

Check for normal BREATHING

  • Support the new tracheostomy tube.

  • LOOK for chest movement.

  • LISTEN & FEEL for air coming out of tracheostomy.

If NOT breathing or abnormal breathing... Give RESCUE BREATHS

  • Place your mouth or resuscitation bag over the tracheostomy tube.

  • Gently blow/give 2 breaths looking for chest to rise and fall with each breath.

  • If your child starts breathing normally, turn them onto their side and remain with them until arrival of the ambulance.

If your child is still UNRESPONSIVE and NOT breathing normally: START Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

1. View the centre of the chest: place the heel of one hand on the lower half of the breastbone (sternum).

2. For larger children you will need to use two hands - place the other hand on top of your first.

3. Start chest compressions. Push the chest down by 1/3rd the depth of your child’s chest. Give 30 chest compressions then give 2 breaths. Continue with this, aiming to give 100 compressions per minute.

4. If your child becomes responsive or normal breathing returns turn them onto their side, watch their breathing and stay with them until the ambulance arrives. Call for help if you haven’t already done this.

5. If your child is still unresponsive and not breathing normally after 1 minute of CPR and an ambulance has not been called take your child with you if possible and continue doing CPR or place them on their side and go to the nearest telephone and call an ambulance:

  • Dial 000 (any phone) or 112 (from a digital mobile phone only)... Ask for an ambulance
  • Give your exact address, including cross-street & suburb
  • Tell them you are doing CPR on a child with a tracheostomy
  • Do not hang up

6. Continue CPR until the ambulance arrives or your child begins to breathe normally.


  • Any attempt to resuscitate is better than none
The Children's Hospital at Westmead
Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick
Hunter New England Kids Health

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