Cardiopulmonary resuscitation guidelines for children

Understanding CPR for children: Guidelines and best practices

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving technique crucial in emergencies such as drowning or cardiac arrest. Regarding children, the approach to CPR is uniquely tailored to their physiological needs. In this blog, Dr Richard Dune delves into the current guidelines for performing CPR on children, backed by statistical data to underscore its importance. It provides an overview of relevant legislation and best practices.

The critical importance of CPR in children

Children are not just small adults; their anatomical and physiological differences necessitate specific techniques and approaches in emergency care. Statistics from health organisations highlight the critical nature of timely intervention:

  • According to the Resuscitation Council UK, prompt and effective CPR can double or triple the chances of survival after cardiac arrest.
  • A report by the World Health Organisation indicates that injuries and accidents are leading causes of mortality in children aged 1-14 years, many of which may require CPR.
  • These figures demonstrate the vital role that knowledge and training in child CPR can play in saving lives.

Key definitions

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) - A life-saving technique used in emergencies where someone's breathing or heartbeat has stopped.
  • Paediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) - A protocol designed to manage critically ill infants and children, incorporating CPR.

Relevant legislation and regulations

In the UK, various statutory and regulatory requirements impact CPR training, particularly within healthcare and childcare settings:

  • The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 mandate that employers, including those in healthcare and education, provide adequate and appropriate equipment and facilities for rendering first aid.
  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC) outlines that healthcare providers must have staff trained in CPR to comply with health and safety standards.
  • Organisations must also adhere to the guidelines set by the Resuscitation Council UK, regularly updated in line with international research and best practices.

Understanding CPR guidelines for children

  • Infants (below 1 year) - Use two fingers placed in the centre of the chest to perform compressions.
  • Compressions should be made to a depth of about 1.5 inches at a rate of 100-120 per minute.
  • Children (1 year to puberty) - Use one or two hands (as needed for the size and strength of the rescuer) for chest compressions.
  • Compressions should be about 2 inches deep, maintaining a rate of 100-120 per minute.

The breaths should be gentle and sufficient to raise the chest, with each cycle comprising 30 compressions for 2 breaths.

Best practices in paediatric CPR

  • Regular training - Regular, certified training sessions are offered for anyone responsible for children, including parents, caregivers, and teachers.
  • Community awareness - Increased community awareness programs can help bystanders feel more prepared to assist in emergencies.
  • Use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) - Familiarity with AED use in children, with paediatric settings available in public spaces and schools.


To improve survival rates and outcomes from child-related emergencies, it is crucial that:

  • Parents and caregivers seek out certified paediatric CPR training.
  • Schools and childcare providers ensure comprehensive training for all staff members.
  • Legislation and guidelines concerning paediatric emergency care remain up-to-date with the latest medical standards and practices.


Understanding and implementing CPR guidelines for children is not merely a regulatory requirement but a moral imperative. Each moment counts in an emergency, and the right knowledge can turn everyday individuals into lifesavers. The Mandatory Training Group is committed to providing top-tier training in paediatric CPR and first aid. Equip yourself with the skills to make a difference.

Ready to take the next step in ensuring the safety of our children? Click here to join one of our upcoming paediatric CPR courses today and be the difference in an emergency. Enrol now and be prepared to save a life.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Dr Richard Dune

With over 20 years of experience, Richard blends a rich background in NHS, the private sector, academia, and research settings. His forte lies in clinical R&D, advancing healthcare tech, workforce development and governance. His leadership ensures regulatory compliance and innovation align seamlessly.

Understanding and implementing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) guidelines for adults - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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