Child CPR: How to Perform CPR on a Child

Last updated:
May 23, 2023

Cardiac arrest, a frightening and life-threatening event, can affect anyone, including children. In such critical moments, knowing how to perform Child CPR becomes crucial. Child CPR goes beyond traditional Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for adults, recognizing the importance of adapting to the specific needs and challenges presented by children of varying ages. This article delves into the essential aspects of child CPR, offering invaluable insights, guidelines, and techniques to empower individuals to respond effectively to emergencies involving children.

Throughout this comprehensive guide, we will explore the proper compression-to-breath ratio, compression depth, hand placement, and ventilation techniques for child CPR. We will highlight the importance of maintaining the correct CPR ratio based on the child's age and whether there is one or two rescuers involved.


What Is Child CPR?

Child CPR is a life-saving technique performed on children who are experiencing cardiac arrest or have stopped breathing. It is an emergency response procedure aimed at restoring blood circulation and oxygen supply to the child's vital organs until professional medical help arrives. Child CPR involves a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths to maintain oxygenation and circulation.

Performing child CPR requires proper training and knowledge of the techniques involved. It is essential to understand the correct ratio, compression depth, and hand placement specific to the child's age to ensure effective resuscitation. Prompt initiation of child CPR can significantly increase the chances of survival and minimize the risk of long-term complications.


Why Child CPR Is Important?

Child CPR is important because it can save lives by maintaining blood circulation and oxygenation during cardiac arrest. Prompt administration of CPR can prevent brain damage, improve outcomes, and empower bystanders to take immediate action. Knowing how to perform child CPR has a significant impact on saving lives and providing vital support in emergency situations.


In What Situations Is Child CPR Necessary?

Child CPR is necessary in various situations when a child experiences a life-threatening condition, particularly when their heart has stopped beating or they have stopped breathing. Some common situations where child CPR may be required include:

  1. Cardiac Arrest: Child CPR is essential during cardiac arrest, which can occur due to various reasons such as drowning, choking, severe trauma, or medical emergencies like heart conditions or respiratory failure.
  2. Suffocation or Choking: If a child's airway becomes blocked due to choking on an object or suffocation, immediate CPR may be necessary to clear the airway and restore normal breathing.
  3. Near-Drowning: Children who have been submerged in water and experience a near-drowning incident may require CPR to initiate resuscitation and restore breathing and circulation.
  4. Severe Allergic Reactions: In rare cases, severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis can lead to a child's breathing difficulties and cardiac arrest. CPR may be necessary in such situations to provide immediate support until medical assistance arrives.
  5. Serious Trauma: Children who have experienced severe trauma, such as a severe head injury or a major accident, may require CPR if their heart or breathing has been affected.

Related Article:
Cardiac Arrest

How to Perform CPR on a Child

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to perform Child CPR


Step 1: Assess the Situation

Before initiating child CPR, it is important to assess the situation, evaluate the surroundings, and ensure personal safety. This step is of utmost importance as it helps you identify any potential risks or hazards that may endanger your safety or the safety of the child. By addressing these risks beforehand, you create a safer environment for both you and the child.

Child CPR Calling for help

Step 2: Call Emergency Services

hen you are alone and have identified a child who is unresponsive, it is crucial to call 911 after performing CPR for 2 minutes. If someone else is present, ask the person to call 911 and then have them locate an Automated External Defibrillator right away while you begin CPR.


Step 3: Check for Responsiveness

A quick assessment of consciousness and responsiveness is crucial to provide the appropriate care and seeking help in case of an unresponsive child.

  • Call out and tap the child gently to get their attention.
  • Look for signs of normal breathing, such as chest rise and fall.
  • Check for responsiveness by speaking to the child and attempting to elicit a response.
  • If the child does not respond or show signs of normal breathing, they are unresponsive.


Step 4: Check for Breathing and Pulse

To check if the child has normal breathing, listen for sounds of breathing or feel for air movement near the child's mouth and nose. Simultaneously, locate the carotid artery on the side of the child's neck (between the windpipe and the muscles). Use your fingertips to feel for a pulse for no more than 10 seconds.

  • If the child is breathing: Maintain an open airway and monitor their breathing until help arrives. Place the child in a recovery position if they are unconscious but breathing.
  • If a pulse is present: Begin rescue breaths, providing 1 breath every 3 to 5 seconds.
  • If the child has no pulse, not breathing, or only gasping: This indicates a potential cardiac arrest. Proceed with initiating CPR immediately, starting with chest compressions.
Child CPR Chest Compressions

Step 5: Begin Chest Compressions

Here are the instructions for performing chest compressions on a child during CPR:

  1. Place the child on a firm surface, such as the floor or ground.
  2. Kneel beside the child's chest.
  3. Hand Placement: During CPR on a child, you should place one or two hands over the center of the chest.
  4. Position your hands on the lower half of the sternum, just below the nipple line.
  5. Keep your arms straight and shoulders directly above your hands.
  6. Press down firmly and smoothly, using your body weight to compress the chest.
  7. Compress the chest to a depth of at least one-third the depth of the child's chest (approximately 2 inches or 5 centimeters).
  8. Perform compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. Aim for a steady and consistent rhythm.
  9. For a single rescuer, the compression-to-ventilation ratio is 30 compressions to 2 breaths.
  10. For two rescuers, the ratio is 15 compressions to 2 breaths.

Remember, maintain proper hand placement, compression depth, rate, and compression-to-ventilation ratio during chest compressions on a child. These guidelines help ensure effective circulation and oxygenation during CPR, increasing the chances of a successful outcome.

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CPR Ratio

Step 6: Provide Rescue Breaths

Rescue breathing is an essential component of Child CPR. It help deliver oxygen to the child's lungs and vital organs, enhancing the overall effectiveness of CPR. By combining chest compressions with rescue breathing, you provide the child with the best chance of survival during a cardiac arrest. To perform rescue breaths:

  1. Ensure the airway is open by tilting the child's head slightly back while lifting the chin forward. This helps to open the airway and clear any obstructions.
  2. Maintain a good seal by pinching the child's nose closed with your fingers to prevent air from escaping.
  3. Place your mouth over the child's mouth, creating an airtight seal.
  4. Give two rescue breaths after every 30 chest compression. Each breath should last about 1 second and make the chest visibly rise.
  5. While delivering the breaths, watch for the child's chest to rise and fall. If the chest does not rise, reposition the child's head and try again.
  6. After delivering the two rescue breaths, immediately resume chest compressions.

Step 7: Continue Child CPR Until Help Arrives

Continue performing uninterrupted CPR until emergency medical services (EMS) personnel arrive on the scene or the child victim shows any signs of life. Remember, the arrival time of EMS may vary depending on the location, so it is crucial to stay committed and continue CPR efforts until advanced medical assistance takes over. The continuous provision of high-quality CPR can significantly impact the child's chances of a positive outcome and successful resuscitation.


How Do I Position An Unconscious Child In The Recovery Position?

Positioning an unconscious child in the recovery position is an important step in CPR. It helps maintain an open airway, prevents the tongue from obstructing the airway, and allows any fluids to drain out of the mouth.

Here are the steps to correctly position an unconscious child in the recovery position:

  1. Kneel beside the child
  2. Take the arm nearest to you and extend it out from their body.
  3. Take the child's other arm and place it across their chest, with the back of the hand against their cheek on the same side.
  4. Bend the child's far leg at the knee, keeping the foot on the ground.
  5. Gently roll the child towards you by applying pressure on the bent knee and shoulder.
  6. Tilt the child's head back slightly to keep the airway open and ensure the chin is lifted.
  7. Stay with the child and monitor their breathing and general condition until help arrives.


How Have Child CPR Techniques Evolved Over the Past Decade?

Over the past decade, Child CPR techniques have undergone advancements and changes based on ongoing research and scientific developments. Some of the notable changes in Child CPR techniques include:

  1. Compression depth and rate: The recommended compression depth and rate for Child CPR have been refined to ensure adequate circulation. Guidelines now emphasize the importance of compressions at a depth of approximately 2 inches (5 centimeters) and a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.
  2. Compression-only CPR: Research has indicated that in some situations, compression-only CPR may be as effective as CPR with rescue breaths. This approach simplifies CPR for bystanders who may be reluctant to provide rescue breaths or are untrained in giving ventilations.
  3. Use of smartphone apps and feedback devices: The development of smartphone applications and feedback devices has provided real-time guidance and feedback on the quality of CPR, including compression depth, rate, and hand placement. These tools help rescuers optimize their CPR technique during resuscitation efforts.
  4. Hands-only CPR for cardiac arrest of non-cardiac origin: In cases of cardiac arrest due to non-cardiac causes (such as drowning or respiratory arrest), hands-only CPR is recommended for child resuscitation. This approach focuses on continuous compressions without interruptions for rescue breaths.
  5. Focus on dispatcher-assisted CPR: Dispatchers are now trained to provide CPR instructions over the phone to bystanders during emergencies. These instructions help ensure immediate CPR initiation and provide step-by-step guidance until professional help arrives.

These changes in Child CPR techniques are aimed at improving the effectiveness of resuscitation efforts and increasing the chances of survival. It is important to stay updated with current guidelines and receive proper CPR training to provide the best care in emergency situations involving children.

What Are The Differences and Similarities Between Child and Adult CPR?

Child CPR and Adult CPR differ in several key aspects. Here are the main differences between Child and Adult CPR:

  • For adults, the recommended compression depth is approximately 2-2.4 inches (5-6 centimeters), while for children, it is about 2 inches (5 centimeters) or roughly one-third of the chest depth.
  • Both child and adult CPR share a recommended compression rate of 100-120 beats per minute.
  • During adult CPR, rescuers typically use two hands placed one on top of the other in the center of the chest. For child CPR, one or two hands can be used, depending on the child's size.
  • The compression-to-ventilation ratio for adult CPR is 30 compressions followed by 2 ventilations, while for child CPR, the ratio is 30 compressions followed by 2 ventilations for a single rescuer and 15 compressions followed by 2 ventilations for two rescuers.
  • When performing adult CPR, rescuers can use more force during compressions due to the size and strength of the adult's chest. In child CPR, rescuers must adjust their force to match the child's size and avoid excessive compression depth.

These differences highlight the unique needs and considerations when performing CPR on children compared to adults. Proper training in pediatric CPR is essential to ensure the correct techniques are applied in different age groups to maximize the chances of successful resuscitation.


differences and similarities between Child and infant CPR

How Is CPR Performed on Infants Versus Older Children?

CPR techniques differ when performed on infants compared to older children. Here are the main differences in performing CPR on infants versus older children:

  • For infants (up to 1 year of age), two fingers are used to perform chest compressions. In Child CPR, the heel of one or two hands is used to perform chest compressions.
  • The recommended compression depth for infants is about 1.5 inches deep (4 centimeters), which is approximately one-third of the chest depth. In Child CPR, the depth of compressions is about 2 inches (5 centimeters) or roughly one-third of the chest depth.
  • When providing rescue breaths to infants, the rescuer covers the infant's mouth and nose with their mouth, creating a seal. In Child CPR, rescue breaths are delivered by covering the child's mouth with the rescuer's mouth, ensuring a seal while blocking the child's nose.
  • When performing CPR on infants, the rescuer must take extra care to avoid excessive compression depth due to the infant's smaller size and more delicate chest.


What Is an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and Its Role In Child CPR?

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that is used to deliver an electric shock to the heart in cases of sudden cardiac arrest. In Child CPR, an AED plays a critical role in assessing the child's heart rhythm and determining if a shock is necessary to restore normal heart function. If an AED is available, it should be brought to the child's side as soon as possible.

It is important to note that while AEDs can be used on children, the appropriate pediatric pads or dose attenuator should be used to ensure the energy delivered is suitable for the child's size and age.

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How Does Child CPR Training Impact Individuals and Families?

Child CPR training has a profound impact on individuals and families by providing them with the knowledge and skills needed to respond effectively during life-threatening situations. By learning Child CPR, individuals become empowered to take immediate action and potentially save lives.

Having family members trained in Child CPR means there is a higher likelihood of immediate and appropriate response in critical situations, such as cardiac arrest or choking incidents. This training can make a life-saving difference and provide peace of mind knowing that loved ones have the ability to take action in a time-sensitive and potentially life-threatening event.


Where Can I Find Child CPR Training Classes or Organizations Near Me?

Finding Child CPR training classes or organizations near you can be easily done through various resources. Here are some options:

  1. American Heart Association (AHA): The AHA offers CPR training programs, including Pediatric CPR courses, which can be searched on their website.
  2. American Red Cross (ARC): The ARC also provides CPR training courses, including Pediatric CPR. You can use their online search tool to find local training options in your area.
  3. Local Healthcare Providers: Hospitals, clinics, and healthcare centers in your area often offer CPR training classes. Contact them directly or visit their websites to inquire about available courses.
  4. Online CPR Training Providers: If you prefer online training options, platforms like USCPR Online offer convenient CPR certification courses. You can visit their website to explore their CPR Courses. Remember to verify the credibility of the training provider to ensure that you receive comprehensive and reliable CPR training.

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