CPR Refresher Step 3: Chest Compressions

It is a common fear of many rescuers to not push hard enough on the victim’s chest because they are afraid of hurting the victim. Injuring the victim is unlikely, but is a much better outcome than death.

Compressions on an Adult

  1. With the adult victim lying flat on their back on a firm surface, place the heel of the dominant hand on the sternum between the nipples (lower half of the sternum).
  2. Place the heel of your non-dominant hand on top of your first hand and lace the fingers of both hands together.
  3. Straighten your arms so that your elbows are locked. Your shoulders should be positioned directly over your hands, forming a straight line from shoulders to wrists.
  4. Push down hard and fast. You should compress the chest at least 2 inches. You should provide at least 100 compressions per minute.
  5. Allow the chest to fully recoil (expand) between compressions to allow the heart to fill with blood. Not allowing the chest to fully recoil results in less blood flow with every compression, which means that the brain will not get enough oxygen.

Compressions on a Child

  1. Place your hands in the same place as you would when giving chest compressions to an adult. With the victim lying flat on their back on a firm surface, place the heel of the dominant hand on the sternum between the nipples (lower half of the sternum). In a small child, it may only be necessary to use one hand.
  2. Push down hard and fast. You should compress the chest about 2 inches. You should provide at least 100 compressions per minute. If necessary, use two hands to compress the chest. One hand is not better than two or vice versa. You should do what is necessary to compress the chest about 2 inches.
  3. Allow the chest to fully recoil (expand) between compressions to allow the heart to fill with blood. Not allowing the chest to fully recoil results in less blood flow with every compression.

Compressions on an Infant

  1. With the infant lying flat on their back on a firm surface, place two fingers just below the nipples (lower half of the sternum).
  2. You should compress the chest straight down about 1 ½ inches. Provide at least 100 compressions per minute.
  3. Allow the chest to fully recoil (expand) between compressions to allow the heart to fill with blood.

Remember, push hard and push fast! You should deliver 30 chest compressions without pause.


Step 4: Rescue Breathing