accessibility & help

Baby and Child First Aid

First aid for a child who is
unresponsive and not breathing

Watch this video, in which a child is treated when found unresponsive and not breathing, and remind yourself of the key steps below.


Check for breathing. Tilt their head back and look and feel for breaths. If they are not breathing, move on to step two.

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Tilting the child’s head back opens the airway by pulling the tongue forward. Looking at their chest to see if it’s moving, and feeling for breaths on your cheek, will help you tell if they’re breathing or not. Once you have confirmed they are not breathing, move on to step two.


Tell someone to call 999.

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If you are on your own, carry out rescue breaths and chest compressions for one minute, and then call 999.


Give five rescue breaths. Tilt their head back, seal your mouth over their mouth and pinch their nose. Blow five times into the child.

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By blowing into their mouth you are topping up the oxygen levels in the child’s blood. This is needed to keep their organs alive.


Give 30 chest compressions. Push firmly in the middle of their chest with one hand so the chest goes inward, then release.

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You are acting as the heart by keeping blood pumping around their body helping keep the vital organs alive, including the brain. If you are small or the child is large, you may need to use two hands.


Give two rescue breaths, then continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until help arrives.

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Send us your stories

We love to hear from people who have stepped forward to help in a first aid emergency. If you have a first aid story that you'd be happy to share, please email including your name, telephone number and some brief details about what happened. The British Red Cross will only use your information to contact you about your first aid story.

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