First aid:
  • Index
  • Artificial respiration
  • First aid products

  • All Categories:

    First aid: Artificial respiration

    Examine immediately the breathing of any accident victim

    If a person has stopped breathing from any cause, start artificial respiration at once. Seconds count! The most efficient and practical way to save a life is to blow your breath into the victim's lungslike inflating a balloon, letting out the pressure, inflating again. You can do this without help or equipment. A child can save the life of an adult with this method.

    Mouth to mouth (or mouth to nose) resuscitation:

    1-Tilt victim's head back so chin points upward 2-Pull or push the jaw into a jutting-out position 3-Open your mouth wide, place it tightly over the victim's mouth. Pinch victim's nostrils shut. Or close nostrils with the pressure of your cheek
    Or close the victim's mouth and place your mouth over the nose 4-Blow into the victim's mouth or nose Remove your mouth, turn your head to the side, listen for return of air from victim's lungs.  

    If foreign matter is visible in the victim's mouth, wipe it out quickly with your fingers or cloth wrapped around your fingers. For an adult, blow vigorously at a rate of about 12 breaths per minute. For a child, take relatively shallow breaths at a rate of about 20 per minute.

    If you are not getting air exchange (expansion of victim's chest, return outflow when you remove your mouth), recheck head and jaw positions; make sure mouth and throat are clear.

    If you still do not get air exchange, turn victim on his side and give several sharp blows between shoulder blades in hope of dislodging foreign matter. Again sweep fingers through mouth to remove foreign matter. A handkerchief or cloth may be placed over the victim's mouth or nose if the rescuer wishes to avoid direct contact. Several layers of cloth will not greatly affect air exchange.

    Several sharp pats between shoulder blades may dislodge foreign matter from victim's throat

    Start artificial respiration immediately and continue until doctor arrives or you are positive life is gone. It is the victim's only hope of life while rescuers with equipment are on the way.

    Infants and small children respiration mouth to mouth technique:

    1. Clean visible foreign matter from mouth with finger; place child on back; use fingers of both hands to lift lower jaw from beneath and behind so it juts out (as with adults).

    Place your mouth over both mouth and nose of child to make "leakproof" seal. Breathe into child with shallow puffs of air, about 20 per minute.

    If air exchange seems to be blocked, and you cannot breathe easily into child, check "jutting out" position of jaw to be sure tongue has not fallen back and that airway is open.

    2. If air passages are still blocked, suspend child by ankles--or--hold child head-down over one of your arms and give several sharp pats between shoulder blades to help dislodge obstructing matter.

    Continue artificial respiration until the victim begins to breathe for himself or until a physician pronounces the victim dead. Time your efforts to breathe into the victim to coincide with the victim's first attempt to breathe for himself.

    Normally, recovery is rapid except in electric shock, and drug or carbon monoxide poisoning, which may require artificial respiration for long periods.

    An airway tube is desirable first-aid equipment:

    Drugstores sell inexpensive "resuscitation tubes" made of plastic. One end is inserted over the victim's tongue, the other end projects and serves as a mouthpiece through which the rescuer breathes into the victim. Direct oral contact is avoided. The tubes come in child and adult sizes and are very desirable pieces of firstaid equipment to carry in a car and have in the home for emergencies. Follow directions for use of the tube very carefully or you may do more harm than good. If tube is not instantly available, give direct mouth to mouth respiration immediately.

    For choking, the Heimlich manuever:

    • The first thing to do is ask, "Are you choking? Can you speak?" Do not perform first aid if the person is coughing forcefully and able to speak -- a strong cough can dislodge the object.
    • Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around the person's waist.
    • Make a fist with one hand. Place the thumb side of your fist just above the person's navel, well below the breastbone.
    • Grasp the fist with your other hand.
    • Make quick, upward and inward thrusts with your fist.
    • Continue these thrusts until the object is dislodged or the victim loses consciousness.


    Begin artificial respiration the instant a near?drowned person is landed. Do not waste time trying to "empty water out of the lungs" by jackknifing or rolling on a barrel. Turn victim's head to side, clean foreign material from mouth, so stomach contents can clear. Begin artificial respiration. Keep victim's tongue out of throat; keep air passages open at all times. Continue without interruption until help comes. Check to see that tongue is clear and airway open at all times. Keep victim warm.

    Gas poisoning (Carbon monoxide poisoning):

    Get victim into fresh air. Protect yourself in entering gas?filled area. A wet cloth over your nose does not protect you. Tie a rope around yourself so someone can pull you out if you fall.
    If the victim's breathing has stopped or is irregular, give artificial respiration continuously. Send for oxygen device from local police, fire department, or ambulance service. Give continuous artificial respiration until trained operator with oxygen arrives.

    Prevent asphyxiation tragedies

    Children put small objects into their mouths and sometimes "inhale" them. Keep beans, peanuts, fruit pits, pins, buttons, beads, coins out of reach of small children. Permit no toy smaller than child's fist. Check toys for parts such as doll's eyes that may come loose and be taken into the windpipe. Never leave a small child alone in a bathtub for a second. Have gas heaters, ranges, appliances, home furnaces checked regularly by trained service men. Never run car engine with garage door closed. Have car exhaust system checked periodically.

    Electric shock:

    First, shut off current or remove victim from contact (extreme caution) then give immediate prolonged artificial respiration until help comes. Serious electric shock paralyzes breathing centers, causes unconsciousness. Ordinary house current can cause fatal shock under some circumstances. Don't touch victim until current is turned off or victim is free of contact with current--you may be electrocuted yourself. If indoors, or if switch is near, turn off current at switch. If outdoors (live wires, no switch) have someone phone elec tric company to turn off current, but don't wait for this. If victim's muscular contractions have thrown him free of current he may be touched at once. Otherwise, proceed with extreme caution. Insulate yourself from the earth and the victim with dry nonconducting materials, such as a long length of dry rope or cloth. But remember that very few materials are bone-dry, and that you are risking your life.

    Never use anything metallic, wet, or damp.

    It may be simplest to pull wire away from victim, as below:

    • Stand on dry newspapers, dry board, dry rubber floor mat of car, dry folded coat.
    • Use dry stick, dry board, dry rolled newspapers or floor mat to pull or push wire from contact with victim.
    • If victim lies on wire he may be pushed from it with a dry board. Or he may be pulled away with a dry rope. Insulate your hands with dry gloves, cloth, newspapers. If your hand is insulated you may with caution grasp a dry part of the patient's clothing and drag him away (do not touch shoes; nails may conduct).
    • After contact is broken, give immediate artificial respiration and continue until help arrives. If victim's body stiffened, do not assume that he cannot be revived. Breathing centers paralyzed by electric shock take a long time to recover--victims have recovered after eight hours of artificial respiration. Don't give up.


    Use the same first aid as for electric shock except that victims may be touched immediately and artificial respiration can begin at once. To avoid danger from lightning, seek lowest point, ditch, depression; avoid isolated trees. One of respiration safest places to be in a lightning storm is inside a car. Cover all unused wall sockets with protective plates.

    Prevent electrocution accidents

    • Have all switches and appliances in locations that can't be touched from bath, shower, sink.
    • Never have electrical appliances where they can fall into water, tub, sink.
    • Don't touch anything electrical while standing on wet floors or in puddles.
    • Touch nothing electrical if your hands are wet.
    • Have electrical equipment permanently grounded.
    • Remove fuse before making electrical repairs.
    • Replace all frayed electric cords. Children chewing on frayed wires can get frightful mouth burns or fatal. shock. Cover unused wall sockets with protective plates, seal with adhesive tape, or use inexpensive blank plugs, so children can't push nails or hairpins into openings and receive serious or fatal shock.
    • Never touch a dangling wire; may be charged by crossing power line farther back. Call utility company if wire is down in yard; keep children away.
    • Don't use metal ladders in proximity to electricity (may be grounded if touch live wires--short circuits).
    • If car runs into live wire, touch no metal, stay in car until help arrives.