Child CPR

Vancouver First Aid proudly incorporates Child CPR into all of its First Aid and CPR training.  CPR-B is no longer offered as a stand alone CPR course because the methods for CPR on Adults is nearly identical to that for Children. Because of the similarity between CPR-A and CPR-B, the material taught in CPR-B is now incorporated into CPR level A. This blog will focus on the minor differences between adult and child CPR.

Prior to introducing the differences of between child and adult CPR its important to differentiate, in the world of first aid and CPR, how you differentiate between an adult and a child. This has brought a lot of confusion to CPR. At one point, a child was determined by the weight of the victim, but some rescuers got confused and had a hard time determining the weight of a unconscious victim. Size differences brought along the same problems. Age was also used, but rescuers were delayed in there rescues as some found it difficult to determine the age of the unconscious victim. The best method of determining whether the victim is to be treated as an adult or child is by using signs of puberty. If the rescuers notices signs of puberty on the victim (facial hair, bone structure, breast growth), then they are to be treated as an adult. Using signs of puberty is the clearest method of determining whether to do adult or child CPR.

Child CPR differs from adult CPR most significantly when the application of an AED is involved. AED’s can come with three different pads. They have the traditional adult pads, some also have child pads and a very few have pediatric pads for infants. Adult pads can be applied on a child as long as they do not come within 1 inch of each other. They can be applied using the same placement as on a adult or they can be applied the same way as child pads are (front and back). Child pads can also be used on a child, however, because they lack the energy output, they can not be applied to an adult victim.  If the rescuer does not know whether to apply adult or child pads, he or she can use the adult pads and keep them at least one inch apart. Rescuers must also keep in mind that AED pads are one time use only and that he or she should be careful to place it correctly on the first attempt.

A small difference between adult and child CPR is the compression depth on an child when doing chest compression’s. Two inches is the minimum for an adult and two inch’s is the goal for a child. However, since rescuers rarely bring rulers with them when applying CPR it isn’t beneficial to promote the use of the inch’s when determining proper depth of chest compression’s.  To keep things simple, the rescuer should attempt to do chest compression’s to a depth of one half or one third the depth of an adult, child and infant. The number of chest compression’s for a child, when compared to Adult CPR, does not change. The ratio of 30 chest compression’s to 2 breaths is identical whether it is an adult, child or infant.

When a child is dramatically smaller than the rescuer the rescuer should use one hand when doing chest compression’s. The free hand can be used to keep the airway open to minimize time between cycles of chest compression’s when ventilating the victim. However, to minimize confusion, the rescuer, if not sure, can do two handed CPR.

Child CPR does not differ much from adult CPR. Other than the type of pads and the application of pads when using a AED there aren’t any major differences between adult CPR and child CPR. The same CPR standards that are applied for a adult rescue can be used for a child.

The material posted in this blog is for information purposes only. If you want to learn more about Child CPR and its differences from Adult CPR receive first aid and CPR training from Vancouver First Aid Ltd. First Aid and CPR classes in Surrey are now being offered. To register for a course select the course of your choosing from the menu bar or from the side bar. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call at 778.709.9180, email at or use our “contact us” page. Learn to save the life of a loved one by taking an adult and child CPR course in Vancouver.