Resuscitation (CPR)

When someone looks like they’re asleep but they’re unable to respond to noise or body contact, it’s likely they’re unconscious.

Unconsciousness can last for a few seconds (e.g. fainting), or for a long time. It’s often brought on by serious illness or injury (often a head injury), or from taking alcohol or other drugs.

You need to deal with someone who is unconscious and breathing differently from someone who is unconscious and not breathing (see below).

The treatment is also different for babies (under one year), children (one year up to puberty) and adults.

Unconscious and breathing

Unconscious and breathing baby (under one year old)

Unconscious and breathing child

Unconscious and breathing – adult 

Unconscious and not breathing - CPR

Unconscious and not breathing child

Unconscious and not breathing baby (under one year old)

Unconscious and not breathing – adult

If they’re unconscious and not breathing, you’ll need to do CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). This involves giving someone a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths to keep their heart and circulation going.

If they start breathing normally again, stop CPR and put them in the recovery position.

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