CPR could save your child from drowning, says RCUK

The UK has seen temperatures soaring, which means more families will be visiting beaches and swimming pools across the UK. RCUK is reminding parents about the importance of learning CPR, as it could save a drowning child’s life.

Sue Hampshire, Director of Clinical and Service Development at RCUK said: “We want as many people as possible to know how to do CPR so they have the skills and confidence to help if someone collapses and stops breathing normally.

“in a drowning situation, quickly calling 999 for help and quickly starting rescue breaths and chest compressions are crucial first steps in giving someone their best chance of life. The ambulance call handler will instruct you on how to do rescue breaths and chest compressions.

“If you can, do rescue breaths with help from the call handler. First check the airway is clear, tilt the head slightly, lifting the chin and pinching the nose. Take a breath and put your mouth over theirs, making a seal. Blow steadily into their mouth for about one second. Watch for the chest to fall and try five breaths in total.

“If no response, do chest compressions, We know that songs with the right tempo are a good way to learn and remember the pace of chest compressions, which should be 100-120 compressions per minute. "

Sue adds "In a real emergency an ambulance call handler will count the beat with you, so don’t worry if a song doesn’t spring to mind. 

"The ambulance call handler will instruct you  to interlock your fingers, place your hands in the centre of the child’s chest, and push down hard and then release twice per second, until further help arrives using a ratio of 30 compressions to 5 breaths.

There are other simple ways to learn CPR.  Our simple animation talks you through what to do www.resus.org.uk/watch and you can put yourself realistically in the heart of the action by playing Lifesaver at www.lifesaver.org.uk

The steps you need to take to do CPR in a drowning situation 

Before you approach the child who has drowned, check your surroundings for danger. Do not put yourself in danger if you are trying to rescue a child from water.

1. Shout for help. 

  • Shake them gently.  

2. Look and listen for signs of normal breathing. 

  • Look for the rise and fall of their chest.  

3. Call 999.  

  • Put the phone on loudspeaker and tell them you are with a child who has drowned and  who is not breathing.  
  • If they are not breathing, or not breathing normally, check the airway is clear and give five rescue breaths if you can - watching for normal rise and fall of the chest. The call handler will tell you what to do.

4. Start chest compressions: 

  • interlock your fingers 
  • place your hands in the centre of the chest 
  • push down hard and then release twice per second, 30 times. The ambulance call handler will help you. 

5. After each 30 compressions give two more rescue breaths if you can.

6. Send someone to fetch a defibrillator if you can. The call handler will tell you where the nearest one is.

  • When you have a defibrillator, switch it on and follow the instructions.  
  • A defibrillator will tell you exactly what to do. Visit our defibrillator page for more information about them. 

7. Continue CPR until: 

  • the AED asks you to pause while it reanalyses and gives a shock if needed 
  • a paramedic arrives and tells you what to do
  • the child shows signs of life. 

By developing the skills and confidence to follow these simple steps, you could be a lifesaver in an emergency. 

To request interviews or for more information please call the Resuscitation Council UK press office on 0207 391 0730 or email publicaffairs@resus.org.uk 

Notes to editor 
1.    Resuscitation Council UK is saving lives by developing guidelines, influencing policy, delivering courses and supporting cutting-edge research. Through education, training and research, we’re working towards the day when everyone in the country has the skills they need to save a life.

Rescue breaths on child