CPR Basics

Topic Overview

The American Heart Association recommends taking a class on how to give CPR and then use the chart below as a reference.

CPR Basics
What to do Recommendations for:
Adults and older children who have reached puberty Young children until the age of puberty Babies younger than 1 year

When to call for emergency help

Call 911 before starting CPR and get an AED, if there is one nearby.

Do CPR for 2 minutes. Then call 911 and get an AED, if there is one nearby.

Do CPR for 2 minutes. Then call 911 and get an AED, if there is one nearby.

If the person is not breathing normally or is gasping, find the spot to do chest compressions.

Place two fingers on the spot where the ribs come together. Put the heel of your other hand just above your fingers on the breastbone.

(See a picture of hand placement for chest compressions.)

Place two fingers on the spot where the ribs come together. Put the heel of your other hand just above your fingers on the breastbone.

Place two fingers on the breastbone just below the nipple line.

(See a picture of hand placement for chest compressions on a baby.)

How do you give chest compressions?

Use the heel of one hand with the other hand stacked on top of it. Lace your fingers together.

Use the heel of one hand. If you need more force for a larger child, use both hands as you would for an adult.

Use two fingers.

How fast should you do compressions?

Do at least 100 compressions per minute (between 1 and 2 per second).

Do at least 100 compressions per minute (between 1 and 2 per second).

Do at least 100 compressions per minute (between 1 and 2 per second).

How far down should you press the chest?

Press the chest down at least 2 inches (5 cm).

Press the chest down at least one-third of the depth of the child's chest [about 2 in. (5 cm)].

Press the chest down at least one-third of the depth of the baby's chest [about 1.5 in. (4 cm)].

If you are trained in CPR, how many compressions and breaths do you give?

Note: Rescue breathing may be more important to do for children and babies than for adults.

30 compressions, 2 breaths. Repeat this 30/2 cycle until help arrives or person breathes on his or her own.

30 compressions, 2 breaths. Repeat this 30/2 cycle until help arrives or child breathes on his or her own.

30 compressions, 2 breaths. Repeat this 30/2 cycle until help arrives or baby breathes on his or her own.

(See a picture of rescue breathing for babies.)

Using an automated external defibrillator (AED)

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are machines that are programmed to safely deliver an electrical shock to a person who has collapsed from a heart problem. Each AED has instructions for that machine.

AEDs are in many public places. Before you use an AED, follow all the steps for CPR. To use an AED, place it next to the person who has collapsed and turn it on. The AED has a computer inside that will tell you what to do next.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Last Revised March 27, 2012

Last Revised: March 27, 2012

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