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How to Perform CPR on a Child

How to Perform CPR on a Child
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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is a form of first aid 

training that can benefit anyone and 

could determine whether an individual lives or dies. CPR is 

commonly performed in a situation where 

an individual inhales water and nearly drowns, but there are 

other circumstances that can cause an 

individual to stop breathing. The procedure for giving CPR to a 

child is similar to performing CPR on an

 adult, but there are a few notable differences. For example, 

only one hand should be used to apply 

heart compressions as two hands may damage the organs of the 

child. Proper procedure can help save a

 child's life.

Step 1

Create an open airway for the child to breathe. Lay the child on his back on a firm surface and kneel 

down next to his neck and shoulders. Tilt his head back and lift his chin to open the airway. As you

 set up to give CPR, have someone else call 911.

Step 2

Place your ear near her mouth and nose and listen for breathing. 

You can also watch the chest to look 

for movement, identifying breathing; gasping does not qualify as breathing. If infrequent gasps occur, 

CPR is still needed. If you do not detect breathing within 5 or 10 seconds, it is time to apply CPR.

Step 3

Pinch the nostrils of the child shut, sealing them. Give two gentle 

small breaths into the child's mouth, 

creating a seal on her mouth with your own, and watch for a chest rise. If you see a change, give two 

more breaths and watch for movement in the chest. If there is no change, re-open the airway and give

 two additional breaths so that air can be seen entering the child's chest. Make sure your breaths are 

shallow as a child's lungs are smaller than an adult's.

Step 4

Place one hand on the sternum of the child, in between the nipples. Straighten you elbow and place your 

shoulders directly over your hands. Push down with your upper 

body, compressing the chest about 2-inches. 

Make numerous compressions at a rate of 100 compressions per minute, according to 

Do this for 30 compressions; this should take about 19 or 

20 seconds.

Step 5

Repeat the CPR process five times, giving two breaths for every 30 compressions. This should take about 

two minutes. If the child still does not wake up after five 

treatments, use an automated external 

defibrillator, or AED, machine if one is available to try and shock 

the heart and lungs back into activity.

 An AED machine automatically identifies an individual's heart 

rhythm, diagnoses the problem, and uses 

electric pulses in an attempt to shock the heart back into a normal working rhythm.

Tips and Warnings

  • Breathe gently when applying CPR to a child, 
  • particularly a small one.

Things You'll Need

  • AED machine


Article reviewed by Mia Paul Last updated on: Sep 27, 2010

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