CPR Ready Reference

The American Heart Association recommends these guidelines for CPR.

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 before starting CPR.

Do CPR for 5 cycles, then call for help. NOTE: If you see a child collapse, call for help first and then start CPR.

Do CPR for 5 cycles, then call for help. NOTE: If you see a child collapse, call for help first and then start CPR.

If the person is not breathing, start rescue breaths.

Give 2 breaths.

Note: If you feel comfortable doing CPR with rescue breaths, then use them. If you are not comfortable doing them, then just do chest compressions. Studies have shown that CPR can work well with chest compressions alone.

Give 2 breaths.

Note: Make sure you do rescue breathing with babies and children.

Give 2 breaths.

Note: Make sure you do rescue breathing with babies and children.

If the person does not breathe or move after you give 2 rescue breaths, be ready to start chest compressions.

Note: If you are not doing rescue breaths, start chest compressions.

Put the heel of one hand on the center of the person's chest between the nipples. Place the other hand on top and lace the fingers together.

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

Put the heel of one hand on the center of the child's chest between the nipples. For a larger child, you may need to use both hands as you would for an adult.

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 about 2 compressions a second.

Do about 2 compressions a second.

Do about 2 compressions a second.

How far down should you press the chest?

Press the chest down 1.5 inches to 2 inches (3.8 cm to 5 cm).

Press chest down one-third to one-half the depth of the child's chest.

Press chest down one-third to one-half the depth of the child's chest.

How many compressions and breaths do you give?

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

Note: If you are not doing rescue breaths, keep doing chest compressions at 100 a minute.

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

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

Using an automated external defibrillator (AED)

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are now often found in public buildings. They are usually located in a visible area. Each AED gives you instructions for that machine. Before using an AED, be sure to follow all the steps for rescue breathing and CPR. Do not delay rescue breathing and CPR to find an AED. To use an AED, place it next to the person, turn it on, and follow the commands. The AED will tell you when to continue CPR and when to check again for a heart rhythm.

Last Updated: May 1, 2008

Author: Jan Nissl, RN, BS

Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine

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