How to Perform CPR on a Child: 10 Steps

English: CPR training
English: CPR training (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Important:  Please note that this article is not a substitute for CPR training but provides vital information that could save a child’s life if help, in any form whatsoever, is not available. Time is very important when dealing with an unconscious infant who is not breathing. Permanent brain damage begins after only 4 minutes without oxygen, and death can occur as soon as 4 – 6 minutes later.

CPR is a lifesaving procedure that is performed when an infant’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped, as in cases of drowning, suffocation, choking, or injuries. Permanent brain damage or death can occur within minutes if an infant’s blood flow stops. Therefore, you must continue these procedures until the infant’s/child’s heartbeat and breathing return, or trained medical help arrives.

The main goal of CPR or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is to revive the heart. To perform CPR on another person, you need to be very confident of what you are doing.

This is especially important in case of a child. If heart problems have affected your health condition in the past or a child in your family, it is even more important that you know child CPR. In case of an emergency situation, you must have the confidence and skill to perform CPR on your child. Make sure your health is in good shape before you decide to save someone else. The basic principles of adult CPR and child CPR arethe same except for the compressions and breaths.

Here are the 10 steps you should follow while administering CPR to a child.

• Give the child a little tap and ask if he is fine. This is to know how responsive he is. If he responds and is breathing you don’t need to perform CPR. Call 911 at this point for help.

• Next move his head back slightly and lift up the chin. This clears the airway before you breathe in.

• To see if he is breathing, check for any air coming out of his mouth and look for chest rise.

• Now it’s time for the rescue breaths. A child needs two medium (not full breath) breaths. Press his nose, tilt his head and lift his chin before you breathe.

•The next step requires you to check for a pulse. This has to be done not at the wrist but at the carotid artery on the neck (see photo). If you find a pulse there is no need for CPR.

Checking for pulse on the carotid artery.

• If you don’t find a pulse or heart beat, you need to revive the heart. Provide thirty chest compressions and release properly each time. Do this at a regular pace. Place yourself over the child and keep your hand in the middle of his chest and push.

• Following the thirty compressions, administer the two rescue breaths again.

• Now administer the thirty chest compressions once again.

• Perform the previous two steps repeatedly, alternating both five times. This comprises one cycle of CPR. If your health is not good, get someone else to help you.

• Once you’ve completed one CPR cycle, check the child’s pulse and see if he is breathing. If there is still no response, repeat CPR again until he gains consciousness or medical help arrives. At any point of time, in between the cycle, if the child awakes and can breathe, you can discontinue the CPR. While performing CPR keep checking the child every couple of minutes.

Even a minor breathing problem can result in cardiac arrest and later death, if not diagnosed properly and corrected. If you know child CPR you can help prevent untimely childhood deaths. The goal of infant and child CPR classes is to provide you the skill and knowledge to give immediate aid for any breathing or heart problems that you may encounter as a parent or a citizen.

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  • Thank you for trying to educate the public about lay-rescuer CPR.If this article was intended to educate the public as first-responders, then it has to be current and simplified as American Heart Association (AHA) or European Resuscitation Council (ERC) did in their 2010 Guidelines.

    Do not confuse Heartsaver CPR (for non-healthcare providers) versus BLS-HCP (Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers). When it comes to lay-rescuers, you do not need to complicate things because in increases hesitation by establishing fear of liabilities. By teaching them 10-steps to do CPR is complicated and out-dated.

    For updated Information:

  • Jo

    Untrained Lay Rescuer
    I know the intent is good, but this is out-dated information. After establishing responsiveness, and the victim is not breathing or just gasping, compressions should be given before breaths.

    “If a bystander is not trained in CPR, then the bystander should provide Hands-Only (chest compression only) CPR, with an emphasis on “push hard and fast,” or follow the directions of the emergency medical dispatcher. The rescuer should continue Hands-Only CPR until an AED arrives and is ready for use or healthcare providers take over care of the victim.”