CPR for children (over 12 months of age)

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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What is CPR

Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a life –saving practice which involves compressions and rescue breaths. Chest compressions pump blood around the body to the important organs, and breaths provide oxygen.
CPR Training for Parents
Learn how to perform CPR on a child through a FREE online program at cprtrainingforparents.org.au
The knowledge and skills you learn in this program today, may SAVE a LIFE tomorrow. Remember, ANY attempt at CPR is better than no attempt.


DRS ABCD is an international approach designed to help people remember the seven steps involved in responding to a collapsed person. The steps are as follows.
• Check for DANGER
• Check for RESPONSE
• SEND for help
• Open the child’s AIRWAY
• Check if the child is BREATHING normally
• Start CPR
• DEFIBRILLATOR or an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)

Check for Danger

Check for danger to yourself, the child and to anyone else in the immediate area. If there is an obvious danger, remove the danger, or the child away from the danger.
Check for Response
Once any danger has been removed, check for a response. To do this, use the talk and touch approach. Ask, ‘can you hear me?’ while gently squeezing the child’s shoulder.
If the child responds, stay with them to make sure they recover. If the child does not respond by opening their eyes, making a noise or moving, the child is unresponsive.

Send for help

If the child is unresponsive, send for help immediately by calling triple zero (000). If there is someone with you, ask them to make the call. You can then continue with the next steps in DRS ABCD. If you are on your own, you will need to make the call yourself.
When the operator answers, tell them you need an ambulance. Stay calm and speak slowly. The operator will ask you a number of questions to make sure that the right help is sent as quickly as possible. Once you have answered all of the questions, DO NOT hang up the phone. The operator will be able to give you advice while you wait for the ambulance.

Open the child’s Airway

When a child is unconscious, their muscles may relax. The tongue can fall to the back of their mouth and cover their airway. This will stop air from entering the lungs.
To open the airway, lay the child on their back. Carry out a head tilt and chin lift as described below.

To do a head tilt, place one hand on the child’s forehead. Using your other hand, gently tilt the head (not the neck) backwards.

To do a chin lift, use your thumb and fingers to open the child’s mouth. Lift the jaw up towards you.
If you see something blocking the airway, you may be able to remove it. If you can get to it easily, try to remove it, being careful not to push the item further in. Place the child on their side and use your thumb and index finger to remove the object. The child may recover as a result of your clearing the airway.
Check if the child is Breathing normally
Normal breathing is important to keep a child alive.
To check if the child is breathing, keep the airway open and:
• look for movement of the child’s chest and abdomen.
• listen for breathing sounds by placing your ear over the child’s mouth and nose.
• feel for breaths on your face when listening for breathing sounds.

Look, listen and feel for up to 10 seconds.

If the child is breathing normally, but is still not responding, place them in the recovery position. Check them regularly to make sure their condition doesn’t worsen while you wait for the ambulance.
Start CPR
If the child is not breathing normally, they will need CPR with chest compressions and rescue breaths.
To give chest compressions, the child should be placed lying on their back on a firm surface.
You can use one or two hands to perform chest compressions, depending on the size of the child and your individual strength.
To give compressions:
• Place your hand or hands on the lower half of the breastbone, which is in the centre of the chest.
• Push down to 1/3rd of the depth of the chest 30 times, at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.
Once you have given 30 compressions, you should then give 2 breaths. It is important to pause the compressions when giving breaths.
To give breaths, kneel beside the child’s head and open the child’s airway using a head tilt and chin lift, as described earlier.

Take a breath yourself. Open your mouth as widely as possible and place it over the child’s mouth. Maintain an open airway and pinch the child’s nose. Blow enough air into themouth to see agentle rise of their chest.
If you are unable to or prefer not to give breaths, you can do chest compressions only. There is no need to stop as you would when giving breaths.
Keep to this process of giving 30 compressions to 2 breaths until the ambulance arrives and takes over or the child begins to respond.
Defibrillator or an AED
An AED should be used, if one is available. Turn the AED on and follow the prompts.


• Send for help by calling triple zero (000)
• Learn how to help a collapsed child by completing a FREE online module at cprtrainingforparents.org.au
• Any attempt at CPR is better than no attempt.

The Children's Hospital at Westmead
Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick
Hunter New England Kids Health

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