Emergencies - CPR

Emergencies - CPR

Children and infants who are not responding and not breathing normally will need CPR.

First aid and CPR (rescue breathing and chest compressions)

Learn CPR before you need it. 

All caregivers should know how to perform CPR. Courses are run locally by St John, Red Cross and other training organisations.

Children and infants who are not breathing normally, and are not responding, need CPR. If you're not sure, it's better to start CPR. 

Remember the letters DRS ABCD

D Dangers? Check for any dangers to yourself such as electricity or traffic.
R Responsive? Check responsiveness by calling loudly and shaking the child's arm.
S Send for help. Dial 111 and confirm an ambulance is on its way. Use the appropriate emergency number in other countries.
A Airway. Open the airway by moving the head into a neutral position and lifting the chin. Do not tilt the head back too far. 
B Breathing. Look and feel for movement of the lower chest and stomach area. Listen and feel for air coming from the nose or mouth.

CPR. If the child is not breathing, start CPR - 30 compressions to 2 breaths. Put the child on a firm surface. Place 2 fingers of one hand (for a baby) or the heel of one hand (for a child) in the centre of the chest just below the nipples. Push down hard and fast 30 times in about 15 seconds (push down one-third of chest depth). 

Once you have completed 30 compressions (pushes) on the chest, breathe into the baby's mouth 2 times. Seal your lips around the baby's mouth and nose. For a child over 1, you may need to breathe into their mouth and pinch their nose closed. Gently puff into the child until you see their chest rise. 

Continue with the cycle of 30 chest compressions and 2 breaths until the ambulance arrives.

D Defibrillator. Attach defibrillator as soon as available and follow prompts.


Do not worry about pushing too hard – good CPR requires you to push hard and fast.

Graphic showing the basic life support steps

The basic life support diagram is reproduced with permission of the New Zealand and Australian Resuscitation Councils.​

This page last reviewed 17 October 2017.
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