How to Perform CPR

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation saves lives, but according to the American Heart Association, 70 percent of Americans do not know how to administer CPR or are afraid they will mess up during a cardiac emergency. The association is now encouraging everyone to learn two-step, hands-only CPR. Your actions can help the person in need. If you see an unresponsive adult who is either having trouble breathing or not breathing at all, call 911 and then press hard and fast on the center of his or her chest. Do not start chest compressions if the person is coughing, moving or breathing normally.

Take a class to gain your certification. Free CPR classes or training may be available in your area. This article should not be used as a substitute for formal training.

Adult
Full CPR, which involves rescue breaths and chest compressions, should only be performed by trained individuals. You should still employ the hands-only method if you do not know full CPR.

Call 911 as soon as you realize the person is not responsive. If an automated external defibrillator is available, retrieve that and follow the directions.

Carefully move the person to his or her back. Kneel next to the person and place the heel of one hand on the person���s chest between the nipples. Put the heel of your other hand on top of your first one and position yourself so your body is over your hands. Press down hard and fast for 30 compressions. Take two fingers and lift the person���s chin while tilting his or her head back by pushing on the forehead. Check for breathing by bringing your ear down toward the person���s mouth and nose. If you cannot feel breaths and the person���s chest is not moving, give two rescue breaths. Seal the person���s mouth with your own and pinch his or her nose closed. Keep his or her head tilted and chin lifted and make sure the breaths are about a second and the person���s chest rises.

Continue this CPR cycle of 30 compressions and two rescue breaths until the victim���s heart starts beating again or emergency personnel arrive.

Child

Performing CPR on a child between the ages of 1 and 8 differs. You should only use one hand for chest compressions and make sure you give gentle rescue breaths. Use the same ratio of 30 compressions and two rescue breaths.

Infant

Performing CPR on infants starts as it would for adults: check for alertness, then instruct someone to call 911. If you are alone, perform CPR for 2 minutes before calling 911. Do not leave the infant. Situate the infant on his or her back. Use the tips of your middle and ring finger to administer the compressions just below the nipple line. Tilt the head back with your other hand on the forehead. Administer 30 fast and hard compressions. Be careful not to tilt to head too far back. Check for breathing. If the infant is not breathing, cover his or her mouth and nose with your mouth and give two rescue breaths.