BLS for Children (Age 1 to Puberty)

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BLS for both children and infants is almost identical. For example, if two rescuers are available to perform CPR, the breath to compression ratio is 15:2 for both children and infants. See the following pages and Table 2 for differences between BLS for children and BLS for infants.

One-Rescuer BLS for Children

If you are alone with a child, do the following:

  1. Shake their shoulder and talk loudly to the child to determine if they are responsive.
  2. Assess if they are breathing.
  3. If the child does not respond and is not breathing (or is only gasping for breath), yell for help. If someone responds, send the second person to call 911 and to get an AED.
  4. Feel for the child’s carotid pulse (on the side of the neck) or femoral pulse (on the inner thigh in the crease between their leg and groin) for no more than 10 seconds.
  5. If you cannot feel a pulse (or if you are unsure), begin CPR by doing 30 compressions followed by two breaths. If you can feel a pulse but the pulse rate is less than 60 beats per minute, you should begin CPR. This rate is too slow for a child.
  6. After doing CPR for about two minutes (usually about five cycles of 30 compressions and two breaths) and if help has not arrived, call EMS while staying with the child. The AHA emphasizes that cell phones are available everywhere now and most have a built-in speakerphone. Get an AED if you know where one is.
  7. Use and follow AED prompts when available while continuing CPR until EMS arrives or until the child’s condition normalizes.

Two-Rescuer BLS for Children

If you are not alone with a child, do the following:

  1. Shake their shoulder and talk loudly to the child to determine if they are responsive.
  2. Assess if they are breathing.
  3. If the child does not respond and is not breathing (or is only gasping for breath), send the second rescuer to call 911 and get an AED.
  4. Feel for the child’s carotid pulse (on the side of the neck) or femoral pulse (on the inner thigh in the crease between their leg and groin) for no more than 10 seconds
  5. If you cannot feel a pulse (or if you are unsure), begin CPR by doing 30 compressions followed by two breaths. If you can feel a pulse but the rate is less than 60 beats per minute, begin CPR. This rate is too slow for a child.
  6. When the second rescuer returns, begin CPR by performing 15 compressions by one rescuer and two breaths by the second rescuer.
  7. Use and follow AED prompts when available while continuing CPR until EMS arrives or until the child’s condition normalizes.
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