Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for Children

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation refers to a series of actions that should be performed in case a person is experiencing cardiorespiratory arrest. In today's article, we'll tell you the basic steps.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for Children

Last update: 16 June, 2020

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation refers to the measures that should be applied in the case of a person experiencing cardiac arrestWhen it comes to children, the technique varies in some ways from that of adults.

Knowledge of these measures and their rapid application can save the life of a child in danger. Below, we’ll mention some concepts about the basic life support measures that apply to children.

What is cardiopulmonary resuscitation?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is a set of actions to apply in the case of cardiorespiratory arrest. These actions must be applied continuously until emergency medical services arrive with their own life support equipment.

Most cases of cardiac arrest take place outside of a hospital environment. They’re oftentimes the result of an accident. Knowing about these measures and how to apply them correctly is of crucial importance. After all, their purpose is to offer basic life support or, in other words, to keep the patient alive.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for Children

The quicker and more efficiently a person carries out CPR, the greater a patient’s chances of survival will be. Proper cardiopulmonary resuscitation also decreases a patient’s chances of suffering serious repercussions. So much so, that each minute that passes without the application of CPR techniques reduces a person’s chances of survival by 10%.

Who can carry out cardiopulmonary resuscitation?

The design of this basic life support technique makes it possible for any person to be able to carry it out, even without any medical knowledge.

In fact, children in elementary and high school learn the techniques as part of their education. Practicing with mannequins and simulating emergency situations makes it easy for any person to learn how to respond if necessary.

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When to apply CPR to children

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s best to take a class on cardiopulmonary resuscitation where you can practice and simulate emergency situations. Just the same, we’ll describe the basic sequence you should carry out below:

So what’s the first thing you should do if you see a child has collapsed on the floor? Approach the child to see if he or she is conscious and breathing normally.

  • Is the child conscious? To make sure a child is unconscious, you should tap his her shoulders while shouting to see if he or she reacts. If the child does not react, if possible, have someone alert emergency services and continue with the next point.
  • Is the child breathing normally? To test, you need to look, listen, and feel. This means first performing a forehead-chin maneuver, with the child lying on his or her back. Put one hand on the patient’s forehead and two fingers from your other hand on his or her chin. Tilt the child’s head back, opening his or her airways. Then, get as close to the child’s mouth as possible and:
    • LOOK to see if the child’s chest rises as a result of breathing.
    • LISTEN to see if you can hear the person breathing.
    • FEEL if the patient is exhaling air.
    • If after 10 seconds you’re sure that the patient isn’t breathing, then this is a case of cardiac arrest. At this point, you must begin to apply cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for Children

How to apply CPR to children

In order to accomplish cardiopulmonary resuscitation, start by performing 5 ventilations. This refers to the following: Open your mouth and surround the child’s entire mouth with yours. Take a deep breath and then expel the air into the child’s mouth. You should observe his or her chest rising. Then, let the air come out on its own and repeat for a total of five breaths.

After these 5 ventilations, you’ll now carry out heart compressions. Place just the heel of one hand on the center of the child’s chest and straighten your elbows. While performing cardiac compressions, you should make sure that the child’s chest goes down about 4 centimeters.

From now on, alternate between 30 compressions and 2 ventilations for a duration of one minute. Then, if no one has notified emergency services, do so right away. Then, continue to alternate 2 breaths with 30 compressions until the child recovers or until professional medical personnel arrives.


All of us should learn about how to recognize cardiopulmonary arrest and how to react quickly and effectively. Don’t forget, CPR saves lives!

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.