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

If your child stops breathing or becomes unresponsive, call 999 or 112. Ask for an ambulance. Give them your exact location or Eircode if possible.

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 (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation), if it's needed. It is crucial to continue CPR until paramedics arrive.

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

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.

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
cpr_for_babies
Put one hand on forehead, tilt head back and lift chin

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

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.
cpr_for_babies
Pinch their nose

Giving CPR to a child older than 1 - Keep pinching their nose and seal your mouth over their mouth
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.
CPR_for_child_3_Place_your_hands_on_the_centre_of_their_chest._
Place your hands on the centre of their chest

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

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.
CPR (mouth-to-mouth) to your child
Put one hand on their forehead, tilt their head back and lift their chin

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

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.
cpr_for_babies
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).
Place two fingers in the middle of the baby's chest
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 Ambulance Ireland 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

Phone: 1890 502 502

Order of Malta Ireland

Phone: 01 643 0000

St John Ambulance Ireland

Phone: 01 668 8077

CPR training

The Irish Heart Foundation offers certified training in CPR. More information is available here.

Related topic

Emergencies

page last reviewed: 01/05/2019
next review due: 01/05/2022