Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (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.

PDF Versions Available

This fact sheet is available to print in the following languages:

CPR for children over 12 months

There are 7 steps to follow when helping 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 anyone else in the immediate area. Remove it, or the child to a safe area.

Check for RESPONSE

Check for a response, using 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.

SEND for help

If the child does not respond, send for help immediately by calling triple zero (000).

Call 000 or 112(mobile phone)

  • Stay calm, speak slowly and ask for an ambulance.
  • The operator will ask you a number of questions to make sure that the right help is sent as quickly as possible.
  • DO NOT hang up the phone - Put it on speaker, if possible, and the operator will be able to give you advice while you wait for the ambulance.

If there is someone with you, ask them to make the call, and ensure access for the paramedics to the house.

You can then continue with the next steps in DRS ABCD.

Open the child’s AIRWAY

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.

Open the mouth and if you can see;

-fluid: then place the child on their side to help drain the fluid.

-an object: if you can get to it easily, place the child on their side and use your thumb and index finger (in a pincer grip) to remove the object. Be careful not to push the object further into the throat.

The child may recover as a result of you clearing the airway.

Check if the child is BREATHING normally

To check if the child is breathing, keep the airway open and:

  • look for movement of the child’s chest and abdomen (stomach).
  • 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 on their side. Check them regularly to make sure their condition doesn’t worsen while you wait for the ambulance.

If the child is not breathing normally, they will need CPR.

Start CPR

To give chest compressions, use one or two hands, depending on the size of the child and your own strength.

  • 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.
  • Push fast, at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.


Once you have given 30 compressions, you should then give 2 breaths.

To give breaths, 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 the mouth to see a gentle rise of their chest.

Continue repeating 30 compressions to 2 breaths until the ambulance arrives and takes over or the child begins to respond.

If you are unable to or prefer not to give breaths, continue to give chest compressions without stopping until the ambulance arrives.


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) as soon as possible.
  • Any attempt at CPR is better than no attempt.

CPR training for parents

Learn how to perform CPR on a child through a FREE online program at

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

For publications recommended by our hospitals' experts, please visit the Kids Health book shop.