By Raising Children Network
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Checking vital signs

Check the airway; clear the airway; check for breathing.
  • If a child is unconscious, the first step is to check his mouth for anything blocking the airway. This could include his tongue, food, vomit or blood.

  • If a blockage is found, roll him onto his side, keeping his top leg bent as shown. This is known as the recovery position. Clear any blockages using your fingers, then check for breathing.

  • If no blockage is found, roll the child onto his back and check for breathing. Listen for the sound of the breath, look for movements of the chest, or feel for the breath on your cheek.


Check breathing

Check breathing; rescue breaths if not breathing; chest compressions if no signs of life.
  • If the child is breathing,gently roll him onto his side and into the recovery position, as shown. Phone 000 and check him regularly for breaths and response until the ambulance arrives.

  • If the child is not breathing and responding, send for help: phone 000 and start CPR: 30 chest compressions: 2 breaths.



Chest compressions

30 chest compressions; two steady breaths after compressions; alternate compressions and breaths.
  • Position the heel of your hands in the centre of the child’s chest. Interlace your fingers and lift them off the chest as shown. Using the heel of your hand, give 30 compressions. Each compression should depress the chest by about one third.

  • After 30 compressions, take a deep breath, seal your mouth over the child’s mouth, pinch his nose and give two steady breaths.

  • Continue giving 30 compressions followed by 2 breaths until medical help arrives. If the child starts breathing and responding, turn them into the recovery position (see image 4), however, continue to monitor breathing and be prepared to recommence CPR again at any time.

  • Last updated or reviewed 24-05-2013
  • Acknowledgements

    Thanks to St John Ambulance Australia for their help in developing this content. Please note: This information is not a substitute for first-aid training. St John’s recommends that everyone is trained in first aid. For more information, visit the St John Ambulance website.