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How to save a child from drowning with CPR.

So Melbourne, Summer is finally here! And the warm weather has arrived.

It’s the time of year we look forward to days at the beach and by the pool. And sadly with that comes an increase in child drownings.

Despite strict pool fencing laws and dutiful observant parents, around 20 children under five years of age drown in Australia each year.

If preventative measures against children drowning fail, there is one skill we can all learn to help dramatically improve the odds of a child recovering from falling into a pool – how to do CPR!

Now while the following steps are no substitute for being properly trained in CPR, they can help.

1. Get the child out of the pool fast. Call 000 or start yelling for help if alone.

2. Check the child’s response by gently tapping, shaking or calling their name loud. If no response, turn them on their side and check their airway is clear, removing any blockage.

3. Roll them on their back once airways clear. For a child under 12 months, deliver 2 initial breaths of 1 second duration each using your mouth to cover their mouth and nose to provide a good seal. For a child aged 1-8 years, tilt their head back slightly and breathe twice into their mouth.

4. Watch their chest to see if it rises and listen for them breathing. If they are breathing themselves, roll onto their side in the recovery position and wait for help.

5. If they are NOT breathing, immediately start chest compressions of 30 compressions then 2 breathes, every 2 minutes, repeating the cycle over and over.

6. Chest compressions for a baby should see you using 2 fingers to press the centre of their chest down to a depth of 1/3rd its normal height. (Don’t press too hard, but not too soft either). Press down twice every second as baby’s have faster heart rates than older children.

7. For a child over 12 months of age, use your hand rather than 2 fingers but still compress to 1/3rd their chest height.

8. Every 2 minutes check to see if they are breathing. If not, keep going and keep it up until the ambulance or other help arrives.

Note drowning victims often swallow a lot of water which can be vomited up during CPR. So if that happens make sure you clear their throat properly before continuing as you don’t want to breathe that into their lungs.

Remember you can dial 000 hands-free and be doing CPR while still talking to the operator. And new guidelines strongly recommend that ALL potential drowning cases should seek medical attention afterwards even if it seemed to be a minor case or the patient appears to have fully recovered.

Now this article is no substitute for proper training. So maybe you should give yourself a surprise Christmas present and enrol in a CPR course with us. It’s only $60. Book at


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