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First Aid Tip: Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

These first aid tips are no substitute for thorough knowledge of first aid.
Attend a
St John Ambulance First Aid Course.


A child is considered to be between one year to puberty for the purposes of these instructions. It is neither necessary nor appropriate to check if a child has reached puberty.

  • If you have someone with you, send them to dial 112 for an ambulance immediately.
  • If you are on your own carry out CPR for one minute before dialling 112 for an ambulance.

Attempt to give five rescue breaths

  • Ensure the airway is open.
  • Seal your lips around the child’s mouth while pinching the nose.
  • Blow gently into the lungs, looking along the chest as you breathe. Take shallow breaths and do not empty your lungs completely.
  • As the chest rises, stop blowing and allow it to fall.
  • Repeat four more times then check for circulation.

Give 30 chest compressions

  • Place one or two hands in the centre of the chest (depending on the size of the child.
  • Use the heel of that hand with arms straight and press down to a third of the depth of the chest.
  • Press 30 times, at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  • After 30 compressions, attempt to give two rescue breaths.

Continue resuscitation (30 compressions to two rescue breaths) without stopping until help arrives.


  • If you are alone, carry out rescue breaths and chest compressions for one minute before leaving the child to call an ambulance.
  • If you are familiar with adult CPR and have no knowledge of child CPR, use the adult sequence.
  • It is possible to identify the correct hand position without removing the child’s clothes.