Unconscious and not breathing – baby
What to look for
If your baby is not responding to you and you think they are
unconscious try to see if they react when you gently tap or flick
the sole of their foot. If they do not wake up or respond to you
they are likely to be unconscious.
Check to see if they are still breathing normally. If they are
not breathing normally open their airway and check their breathing
again by looking for chest movement, listening for the sounds of
normal breathing and seeing if you can feel their breath on your
If they are not breathing normally, you need to start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation – a
combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths) straight
What you need to do
If someone is with you, get them to call 999 or 112 for
If you’re on your own, you need to give one minute’s worth of
CPR before you can call for help. This involves giving chest
compressions and rescue breaths to keep the baby’s circulation
How to perform CPR on a baby
Place the baby on their back on a firm surface at about waist
height in front of you, or on the floor.
Give five initial rescue breaths before starting the sequence of
30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths.
How to give a rescue breath to a baby
• If there is anything in their mouth pick it out and ensure the
airway is clear and open.
•Take a breath in and place your lips around the baby’s mouth
and nose to form an airtight seal.
• If you cannot make a seal around the mouth and nose, close the
baby’s mouth and make a seal around the nose only.
• Blow steadily into the mouth until the chest rises.
• Remove your mouth and allow the chest to fall.
Repeat four times more.
Now Give 30 chest compressions.
How to give a chest compression to a baby
Place two fingertips of your lower hand on the centre of the
Press down vertically on the breastbone, and press the chest
down by at least one-third of its depth.
Release the pressure without moving your fingers from their
chest. Allow the chest to come back up fully – this is one
Repeat this 30 times, at a rate of about twice a second – the
speed of the song ‘Staying Alive’.
Now give two rescue breaths.
Carry on giving 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue
breaths for as long as you can, or until help arrives.
If the baby starts breathing normally again, stop CPR and put
them in the recovery position.
How to put a baby in the recovery position
Cradle them in your arms, with their head tilted downwards. This
will keep their airway open and stop them choking on their tongue
or breathing in any vomit.