What is Child CPR? (with pictures)

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
CPR for children or infants is different than CPR for adults.
CPR for children or infants is different than CPR for adults.

Child CPR is cardio-pulmonary resuscitation for children who are usually aged eight or younger. It is typically taught as part of training in infant and child CPR, which also may include assessing for choking. This is important since children aren’t very likely to have heart problems unless injury has occurred to the heart or defect is present, but choking injury restricting breath, such as drowning, can be very likely.

It is important to call 911 for help if a child is not breathing.
It is important to call 911 for help if a child is not breathing.

In a variety of classes, people may take child CPR. This could be in conjunction with training in adult CPR or it could be taught alone. Though not necessarily a requirement, parents are encouraged to get this training, and it may be a legal requirement for some teachers and daycare workers to periodically get trained or recertified in this subject. While people can get theoretical training online for this, it is much safer to have training in person because this allows for practice on both infant and child size dummies, helping people get the feel for compression strength and breath volume.

Teaching and daycare jobs may require some child CPR training.
Teaching and daycare jobs may require some child CPR training.

Basic child CPR is conducted in the following way, though this brief description cannot possibly substitute for training. The child should first be checked for breathing and pulse, or possible awareness. Shaking the child isn’t a good idea especially if there are suspected head or neck injuries. Instead, lightly pressing down on the sternum (breastbone) with the knuckles evokes pain, it’s easy to try this and find out, and will rouse a child if he or she can be roused.

When there is no response and no breathing is present, the child should be carefully positioned on his or her back, with head tilted slightly upward. The airway should be checked for any obstructions. The next step is to begin two breaths into the mouth while pinching the nose shut.

This should be followed by 30 chest compressions with the heel of the hand. The area to apply the compressions is the center chest below the nipples. Compressions should not be too forceful as they can cause the ribs to break. People can repeat with another two breaths and thirty more compressions, and they may continue to perform child CPR until emergency help arrives.

On this last note, it’s very important to get emergency services to the scene as soon as possible, but delaying child CPR isn’t a good idea either. When possible, get someone else to get help while CPR is performed. If no one else is available, people will need to make a judgment call as to whether CPR or emergency services are more important. The most common recommendation is to perform one minute of CPR and then to call 911.

This difficult choice illustrates the necessity of training in child CPR. One of the things noted about this lifesaving teaching is that children are much likely to respond to it. In incidences of drowning or other accidents, CPR often brings a child around and helps reestablish breathing and regular heartbeat. Having the information and skills to perform this procedure, if required, often provides confidence and relief to those who are regularly around children. Those interested in classes can find them through organizations like the Red Cross or the American Heart Association.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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    • CPR for children or infants is different than CPR for adults.
      CPR for children or infants is different than CPR for adults.
    • It is important to call 911 for help if a child is not breathing.
      It is important to call 911 for help if a child is not breathing.
    • Teaching and daycare jobs may require some child CPR training.
      Teaching and daycare jobs may require some child CPR training.