How to give CPR (mouth to mouth) to a baby or child

Immediate action required: Call 112 or 999 immediately if:

  • your child stops breathing or becomes unresponsive

Ask for an ambulance.

Give them your exact location or Eircode if possible.

Start CPR straight away

CPR is also known as mouth-to-mouth. It's a mix of mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths and chest compressions.

A chest compression is when you apply pressure to someone's chest.

You do this to keep blood and oxygen flowing in the body.

You don't have to do mouth-to-mouth part to save a life, but you must do the compressions.

Do CPR until help arrives

Stay on the phone. The emergency  call operator will guide you on what to do next.

They'll give you instructions on how to perform CPR, if it's needed.

It is crucial to continue CPR until paramedics arrive.

Information:

Even though you are still on the call, ambulance paramedics are on their way to you.

Giving CPR to a child aged 1 year and older

1. Open the airway

Open your child’s airway by:

  1. putting one hand on their forehead
  2. tilting their head back
  3. lifting their chin

If you can see an object in their mouth or nose, try to remove it.

First aider opening airway on a CPR dummy. They have one hand on the forehead to tilt the head back and the other hand under the chin to lift it.
Put one hand on forehead, tilt head back and lift chin

2. Give 5 rescue breaths

Give 5 initial rescue breaths. These are short breaths and should be no longer than 1 second each.

To do this:

  1. Pinch their nose.
  2. Seal your mouth over their mouth.
  3. Blow steadily and firmly into their mouth.
  4. Check that their chest rises.
First aider pinching the nose of a CPR dummy. They have a thumb and finger on each side of nose, pinching it closed.
Pinch their nose
First aider demonstrating rescue breaths on a CPR dummy. They have their mouth sealed against the dummy's mouth, while they pinch closed the nose
Keep pinching nose and seal your mouth over their mouth

3. Do 30 chest compressions

Do 30 compressions as follows:

  1. Place your hands on the centre of their chest.
  2. With the heel of your hand, press up and down one third of the depth of the chest using one or two hands.

Do the compressions at a steady rate, slightly faster than 1 compression a second. Push hard. Push fast.

First aider demonstrating chest compressions on a CPR dummy. They have one hand on top of the other pushing down on the centre of the chest
Place your hands on the centre of their chest

4. Give 2 breaths after every 30 compressions

After every 30 chest compressions, give 2 breaths.

Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths. Do this until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives.

Giving CPR to babies under 1 year

1. Open the airway

Open your baby's airway:

  1. Put one hand on their forehead.
  2. Tilt their head back.
  3. Lift their chin.

If you can see an object in their mouth or nose, try to remove it.

Resuscitator opening the airway on an infant CPR dummy. They have one hand on the forehead and the other under the chin to lift it.
Put one hand on their forehead, tilt their head back and lift their chin

2. Give 5 rescue breaths

Give 5 initial rescue breaths. Each breath should be no longer than 1 second.

How to give a rescue breath:

  1. Put your mouth over their mouth and nose.
  2. Blow steadily and firmly into their mouth for no more than 1 second.
  3. Check that their chest rises.
First aider demonstrating rescue breaths on an infant CPR dummy. They have their mouth sealed over the dummy's mouth and nose to blow in
Put your mouth over their mouth and nose

3. Do 30 chest compressions

Do 30 chest compressions as follows:

  1. Place two fingers in the middle of their chest.
  2. Press down one third of the depth of the chest and release.
  3. Do 30 of these at a steady rate (slightly faster than one compression a second - push hard, push fast).
First aider demonstrating chest compressions on an infant CPR dummy. They have two fingers in the middle of the chest and are pushing inwards.
Place two fingers in the middle of their chest

4. Give 2 breaths after every 30 compressions

After 30 of these chest compressions, give 2 breaths.

Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths.

Do this until they begin to recover, an automated external defibrillator (AED) is used, or emergency help arrives.

First aid apps

The Irish Red Cross and St John's Ambulance have free apps for your phone. 

First aid training

Training in how to give basic first aid to babies and children is available.

Organisations that offer this include:

Irish Red Cross - redcross.ie
Phone: 1890 502 502 (Irish Red Cross)

Order of Malta - orderofmaltaireland.org
Phone: 01 6140035 (Order of Malta)

St John's Ambulance -stjohn.ie
Phone: 01 6688077

CPR training

The Irish Heart Foundation offers certified training in CPR.

Find out more about CPR Courses for the general public - irishheart.ie

Related topic

Emergency care - babies and children

Page last reviewed: 14 October 2022
Next review due: 14 October 2025