Unconscious and not breathing child

What to look for

If your child is not responding to you and you think they are unconscious, Ask loudly ‘What’s happened? Or say to them: ‘Open your eyes!’ Place one hand on their shoulder and tap gently. If they still do not respond, it’s likely that they’re unconscious.

Open their airway and check to see if they are breathing normally by looking for chest movement, listening for the sounds of normal breathing and seeing if you can feel their breaths on your cheek.

If they are not breathing, you need to start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation – a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths) straight away.

What you need to do

If someone is with you, get them to call 999 or 112 for emergency help.

If you’re on your own, you need to give one minute’s worth of CPR – cardiopulmonary resuscitation - before you call for help. This involves giving chest compressions and rescue breaths to keep the child’s circulation going.

How to perform CPR on a child

Kneel down beside the child on the floor, level with their chest.

Give five initial rescue breaths before starting the sequence of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths.

How to give a rescue breath

• Ensure the child’s airway is open.

• Pinch their nose firmly closed.

• Take a deep breath and seal your lips around their mouth.

• Blow steadily into the mouth until the chest rises.

• Remove your mouth and allow the chest to fall.

Repeat this four times more.

Now Give 30 chest compressions.

How to give a chest compression

• Place the heel of one hand towards the end of their breastbone, in the centre of their chest, making sure you keep the fingers off the ribs.

• Lean over the child, with your arm straight, pressing down vertically on the breastbone, and press the chest down by at least one-third of its depth.

• Release the pressure without removing your hand from their chest. Allow the chest to come back up fully – this is one compression.

Repeat this 30 times, at a rate of about twice a second or the speed of the song ‘Staying Alive’.

Now give two rescue breaths.

Remember to call for emergency help after about a minute if you are on your own.

Carry on giving 30 chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths for as long as you can, or until help arrives. If the child starts breathing normally again, stop CPR and put them in the recovery position.


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