Here are some simple, life-saving tips for performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on a child over the age of 1 year:
On discovering a collapsed child, check the scene for danger and establish whether he or she is conscious or unconscious. Speak loudly and clearly to the child, ask ‘What happened?’ or give a command such as ‘Open your eyes’.
Place one hand on the child's shoulder and tap them gently to see if there is a response. To open the child’s airway place one hand on the forehead and gently tilt the head back. As you do this, their mouth will fall open. Place the fingertips of your other hand on the point of the chin and lift. Do not push on the soft tissue under the chin as this may block the airway. To check whether the child is breathing, look for chest movement, listen for sounds of breathing and feel for breath on your cheek. Do this for 5 to 10 seconds and if the child is not breathing, begin CPR immediately.
Place one hand on the centre of the child’s chest. This is the point at which you will apply pressure. Lean over the child with your arm straight and press down vertically on the breastbone with the heel of your hand. Compression depth should be about 5cm or 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the chest. Allow the chest to come back up completely before doing the next compression.
Give 30 steady compressions. Push hard, push fast.
Return to the child’s head, open the airway and give two rescue breaths:
Ensure the airway is still open by keeping one hand on the forehead and two fingers of the other hand on their chin.
Pinch the soft part of the child’s nose with the finger and thumb of the hand that was on the forehead. Make sure that their nostrils are closed to prevent air from escaping. Allow the mouth to fall open.
Take a deep breath in before placing your lips around the child’s mouth making sure you form an airtight seal. Blow steadily into the child’s mouth for one second: and just enough for the chest to rise.
Maintaining head tilt and chin lift, take your mouth off the child’s mouth and look to see the chest fall. If the chest rises visibly as you blow and falls when you lift your mouth, you have given a rescue breath. If the chest does not rise you may need to adjust the head and check for any visible obstructions from the mouth but do not sweep the mouth with your finger to look for obstructions.
If you are alone, continue giving 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths for 2 minutes, then stop and call 911. While waiting for medical personnel, continue performing CPR until they arrive, or if the child starts to breathe normally or you become too exhausted to continue.
If you are unable, unwilling or untrained to give rescue breaths, you can give chest compressions only.
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