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Unresponsive and breathing baby

Find out what to do if a baby is unresponsive but breathing.

Poster download: How to hold a baby in the recovery position

Poster download: What to do if a baby is unresponsive

Step 1 of 5

Check for response
  • • If your baby is not responding to you and you think they are unresponsive, try to see if they react if gently tap or flicking the sole of their foot.
  • • If they do not wake up or respond to you they are likely to be unresponsive. Check to see if they are still breathing normally.
  • • Call 999 or 112 immediately especially if the infant has a known heart condition.

Step 2 of 5: Open the airway

Unconscious baby - open the airway
  • • Place one hand on the baby’s forehead and gently tilt the head back, then place one fingertip of your other hand on the point of the baby’s chin.

Step 3 of 5: Check breathing

Unconscious baby - check for breathing
  • • Look, listen and feel for normal breathing – chest movement, sounds of breathing and breaths on your cheek. Do this for no more than ten seconds.

Step 4 of 5: Place in recovery position

Recovery position baby
  • • If they are breathing normally, hold the baby in 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.

Step 5 of 5: Call for help

Call for help
  • • Call 999 or 112 for emergency medical help taking them with you as you do this.
  • • Until help arrives keep checking that the baby is still breathing normally.
  • • If they stop breathing normally at any time, call 999 or 112 straight away and give the baby CPR – a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths.

Baby first aid course

Learn simple, life saving skills, taught in line with babies' developmental stages.

Baby first aid course