Step-by-step CPR for children

In a medical emergency, it’s vital to act fast. That’s why every parent should learn basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in case of drowning, suffocation or choking, which all cause a child’s breathing or heartbeat to stop. Follow our step-by step guide on how to do CPR.

Things to do before you start CPR

1. Check that you’re in safe surroundings. Gently tap the child on the shoulder or flick the bottom of their feet. Ask ‘Are you ok?’ and check for a response.
2. If the child is unresponsive, ask a bystander to call emergency services, then perform two minutes of CPR. If you’re alone and the child is still unresponsive, call emergency services. Find all South African emergency numbers here.
3. Lay the child on their back, open the airway by slightly tilting the head back and lifting the chin.
4. Listen carefully for breathing. Remember that occasional gasps do not indicate normal breathing.
5. With the child’s head still tilted back slightly and chin lifted, pinch the nose closed, place your mouth over the child’s mouth and breath into the mouth twice. This is known as administering two rescue breaths.
6. If the child is still unresponsive after the rescue breaths, perform CPR (see below).

How to perform CPR

1. Kneel next to the baby or child.
2. When performing CPR on children, place the heel of one hand on the centre of the chest just below the breast line. Then place the heel of the other hand on top of the first hand, with your fingers overlapping and fitting into each other.
3. Deliver 30 quick compressions, that are about 5cm deep.
For babies, use two fingers, still place them on the centre of the chest and deliver 30 quick compressions, that are about 3cm deep.
4. Perform two rescue breaths (see instructions above).
5. Continue performing CPR until the child starts breathing or trained emergency help arrives.

Read more here on what to do in case of an emergency.

Compiled by: Chernelle Wilson