First aid: How to help if your child is unconscious

Would you know what to do if your child was unconscious or stopped breathing?


 Danger       – First check it is safe and that there is nothing that has injured them and could be a danger for you.

Response – Speak to them to see if they respond, if not pinch them hard on their ears.

If you get a response – they are alive!!

If there is very little response then they are not sufficiently conscious to keep their Airway open – PUT THEM INTO THE RECOVERY POSITION now and phone 999 or 112 immediately!

child recovery position (2)

Make sure they are rolled over far enough so that they would be dribbling!

If there is no response you will need to:

Airway – Open the Airway (2 fingers under their chin and one on their forehead and tilt the head and lift the chin to take the tongue off the back of the throat)

opening the airway

child open airway

Now check for Breathing –

Look along the body
Listen for breaths
Feel their breath on your cheek to see if they are breathing

child - tilt head and lift chin

If you are positive that they are breathing  – Put into the Recovery position NOW and phone 999/112

child recovery position (2)

If you are not sure whether or not they are breathing, you will need to start CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation)

child mouth to mouth (2)

 Tilt the head and lift the chin to take the tongue off the back of the airway

then give 5 rescue breaths to re-oxygenate them as children are much more likely to have had a breathing problem first and had a Respiratory Arrest.

Seal your mouth around their mouth and blow into them like a balloon.

Make sure their chest rises each time

If they start to gurgle when you breathe into them, you will need to briefly turn them onto their side and empty them before continuing with the breaths.

You will then need to circulate the oxygenated blood by pushing down hard and fast on their chest.

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Push hard and fast on the centre of their chest – right between the nipples

Push down by a third of the depth of their chest – ideally with one hand if you are able to, otherwise use two to ensure you get the depth that you need.

At a rate of 120 beats per minute

After about 30 compressions…you will need to give them 2 more short sharp breaths and then continue with the compressions again.

Keep going – You are being a life support machine and keeping them alive.

When you push on the chest – you are being the heart

When you breathe into them – you are being the lungs

 If you are on your own, you should perform 1 minute’s CPR before phoning for an ambulance (5 breaths, 30:2, 30:2 is about a minute)

Do not expect them to come back to life until the paramedics are there to help.

If there is an AED machine – USE IT!


It is strongly advised that parents attend a practical First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please for more information about our courses.

First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.

First Aid for Life is an award winning First Aid training business, HSE and Ofqual Approved through Qualsafe. Our trainers are extremely experienced medical and emergency services professionals and our courses are tailored to your needs. 0208 675 4036 or email

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