When to do CPR

Children and infants who are not breathing normally need CPR. If you aren't sure, it is better to start CPR right away.

Remember 'DR'S ABCD' for the assessment of an unconscious baby or child. 

D - Dangers  

Check for dangers to you, your child, or bystanders and make the area safe.

R - Response 

Check to see if your child is responsive – do they respond when you call their name, or touch their shoulder? 

S - Send for help 

If your child doesn’t respond to you, ask someone to call 111 immediately 

If you're on your own and a phone is not immediately available, do CPR for about one minute then call for help. If there is a phone available, call 111 on speaker phone while you start CPR. 

A - Airway 

Open your child’s airway by moving their head into a neutral position and lift the chin. Don’t tilt their head back too far. If you see anything in the mouth, use two fingers to sweep it out. 

B - Normal Breathing 

Look and feel for movement of the lower chest and upper abdomen (stomach). Listen and feel for air coming out of their mouth or nose. 

C - Start CPR 

If your child is still not breathing, start CPR. Do 30 compressions for every two breaths.  

For a baby (0-12 months) place two fingers of one hand in the center of the chest.

For a child (one to eight years) place the heel of one hand in the center of the chest.

D - Attach Defibrillator 

If there is a defibrillator (AED) available, use it and follow the instructions on the machine until medical help arrives. 

How to do CPR

How to perform CPR on infants

(St John)

How to perform CPR on a young child

(St John)

Online CPR course

Take our online 'CPR for caregivers' course

Our online module for caregivers takes you step-by-step through how to deal with an unconscious baby or child who is unresponsive and not breathing. It includes easy-to-understand videos from St John Ambulance to help you learn what to do.

Click here to go to our online course.

CPR courses

CPR is an important life skill for everyone – not just parents.

It’s better to learn CPR before you need it. This way, you’ll be ready to help friends or whānau in an emergency. You can learn CPR through courses at St John, Red Cross and other training organisations.

All available courses

New Zealand Red Cross

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Working every day to help New Zealanders.

Course locations

St John

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Provides ambulance services and essential health-related services in New Zealand.