Adult and Paediatric CPR: Are they Different?

Adult and Paediatric CPR: Are they Different?

Sarah McLoughlin
Posted by Sarah McLoughlin

Date: Thursday, 18 January 2018. -  
Blog, Defibrillators

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is a skill that anyone can learn to save someone’s life. CPR and the use of a defibrillator is the only definitive treatment for sudden cardiac arrest. 

Various medical emergencies such as a victim choking or drowning will require immediate CPR to save their life. Often bystanders do not know how to give CPR or are unaware of what they must do in an emergency situation. In the time it takes for the emergency services to arrive, the victim’s chance of survival rapidly decreases.

Anyone can become involved in an accident regardless of their age. Therefore, knowing how to perform CPR on both adults and children is essential. Whilst CPR techniques remain the same for both adults and children, it is important to know and understand that there are a few differences.

Adult CPR

Although it is more likely for a child to experience a choking incident, adults can still suffer from blocked airways, choking and drowning incidents and will require CPR as a result. Adults are more likely to need CPR as a result of cardiac arrest. Although, when providing CPR to an adult, it is crucial that they receive help straight away, so it is important to remember the following steps:

  1. Shake and shout- check for responsiveness by shaking the victim’s shoulders and shouting loudly in both ears.
  2. Check for normal breathing- do this by looking for regular chest movements, listening for breathing and feeling for breath on your cheek.
  3. Call 999
  4. Give 30 chest compressions
  5. Give two rescue breaths
  6. Repeat until an ambulance arrives

Even if you have not been trained in CPR using rescue breaths, you can still use hands-only CPR.

Child CPR Differences

As children are generally more accident prone than adults, it is more likely for a child to need CPR as a result of a blocked airway. Although no one is immune to sudden cardiac arrest meaning that children can also fall victim to this as well.

The CPR techniques used for children are generally the same as what is recommended for adults. Due to the smaller frame of a child’s chest and the fact that their bones are more flexible, there are some differences that need to be accounted for when providing CPR to a paediatric patient:

  • Start CPR before calling for help- Unlike an unresponsive adult, if you are alone with a child that is unresponsive and not breathing, you must give a minute’s worth of CPR before calling 999 for help to keep the child’s circulation going.
  • Chest compressions- Depending on the size of the child, you can use one or both hands to give compressions. The depth of these compressions should only be one and a half inches although the compression and breath rate remains the same, 30 compressions and 2 breaths.
  • Rescue breaths- Children’s airways are more fragile so it is important to not tilt the head back too far and to breathe more gently than you would with an adult.

It is vital that children receive CPR immediately to increase their chance of survival. By learning this skill, you could save a life.

Life-saving skills

CPR is a simple skill that can be learned in just a few, short hours. You would like to think that you will never need to use it although, if an incident were to arise that required CPR, you would have the knowledge and skills act confidently in an emergency and potentially save a life!

Were you aware of the differences in providing CPR to an adult and to a child? Let us know by tweeting us @imptraining.