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stjohnlogoSt John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity, has teamed up with the Island Echo to bring you some simple, but life saving, first aid tips – this week: performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a child aged one to puberty.

On discovering a collapsed child, check the scene for danger and establish whether she is conscious or unconscious. Speak loudly and clearly to the child, ask ‘What has happened?’ or give a command such as ‘Open your eyes’.

Place one hand on her shoulder and tap her gently to see if there is a response. To open the child’s airway place one hand on her forehead and gently tilt her head back. As you do this the mouth will fall open. Place the fingertips of your other hand on the point of the chin and lift. Do not push on the soft tissue under the chin as this may block the airway. To check whether the child is breathing, look for chest movement, listen for sounds of breathing and feel for breath on your cheek. Do this for no more than ten seconds and if the child is not breathing, begin CPR.

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• Kneeling at the side of the child, ensure the airway is still open by keeping one hand on her forehead and two fingers of the other hand on her chin

• Pick out any visible obstructions from the mouth but do not sweep the mouth with your finger to look for obstructions

• Pinch the soft part of the child’s nose with the finger and thumb of the hand that was on her forehead. Make sure that her nostrils are closed to prevent air from escaping. Allow her mouth to fall open

• Take a deep breath in before placing your lips around the child’s mouth making sure you form an airtight seal. Blow steadily into the child’s mouth for one second; the chest should rise

• Maintaining head tilt and chin lift, take your mouth off the child’s mouth and look to see the chest fall. If the chest rises visibly as you blow and falls when you lift your mouth, you have given a rescue breath. If the chest does not rise you may need to adjust the head. Give five initial rescue breaths

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• Place one hand on the centre of the child’s chest. This is the point at which you will apply pressure

• Lean over the child with your arm straight and press down vertically on the breastbone with the heel of your hand. Depress the chest by one third of its depth. Allow the chest to come back up completely before you give the next compression.

• Give 30 compressions at a rate of between 100-120 per minute

• Return to the child’s head, open the airway and give two further rescue breaths

• If you are alone, continue giving 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths for one minute, then stop to call 999/112 for emergency help. If help is one the way, continue CPR until emergency help takes over; the child starts to breathe normally or you become too exhausted to continue.

If you are unable, unwilling or untrained to give rescue breaths, you can give chest compressions only.

For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website (www.sja.org.uk) offers demo videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice. For more information about first aid courses, and volunteering opportunities in Ryde and Newport, please call 0303 003 0101.

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