Hands-Only CPR

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation which is a lifesaving emergency procedure that involves the repeated compression of a person’s chest who is suffering from cardiac arrest. The purpose of CPR is to restore a victim’s blood circulation and breathing.

Hands-Only CPR is the alternative form of conventional CPR for those who are not certified. Hands-Only CPR is a method of CPR that requires only the use of your hands to provide chest compressions. No rescue breaths are involved in Hands-Only CPR, so you are not required to implement “mouth-to-mouth”. Studies show that adults who receive Hands-Only CPR have a similar chance of survival as those victims who receive conventional CPR. Hands-Only CPR can double, and in some cases triple, a person’s chance of survival.

Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death. It is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating and heart function, breathing, and consciousness are lost. According to the American Heart Association, approximately 90% of people who suffer from cardiac arrest die because they didn’t immediately receive CPR. Statistics show that nearly 360,000 cardiac arrests occur each year in the United States.

The survival rate of a person in cardiac arrest decreases by 10% for every minute they go without CPR. About 70% of Americans feel helpless during a cardiac emergency because they aren’t trained in CPR. They are worried that they are going to do it wrong or hurt the victim, but the reality is, ANY CPR IS BETTER THAN NO CPR. Yes, you might break a victim’s rib while giving chest compressions, but it is safe to assume that the victim would prefer to be alive with an injury than dead. Even if you are unsure if they have a pulse or are breathing, attempt CPR anyway.

Hands-Only CPR is a simple, two-step process that is easy to remember.


Step 1: Call 911 or instruct someone else to call 911.

  • It is crucial to notify emergency responders as soon as possible to get them on the way to your location. Additionally, if you forget how to do CPR, the dispatcher will be able to walk you through the process over the phone.

Step 2: Place your hands in the center of the victim’s chest and push hard and fast over and over.

  • A good technique is to place one hand over the other and interlock your fingers so they stay connected as you provide chest compressions.

  • Place your hands in the center of the chest. If the person is wearing a shirt and you are unsure where the center of their chest is, it is okay to move their shirt to expose their chest. Next, while keeping your arms straight, push down hard on their chest and repeat. The appropriate rate is 100 compressions per minute.

A few things to keep in mind:


  • If you discover the unconscious individual sitting in a chair, you will need to gently guide them to the ground and lay them on their back. You will not be able to conduct CPR while they are in a seated position.

  • Giving chest compressions is surprisingly exhausting. If you are with someone, ask them to take over compressions after you have done a few rounds. After doing CPR for a while, your compressions will become less effective as you get tired. Switch off frequently with another bystander and rest while they are doing the CPR.
  • Hands-Only CPR should only be used on teens and adults. Infants and children require a different technique used on them. The American Heart Association recommends CPR with both chest compressions as well as rescue breaths be conducted on infants, children, and victims of drowning, drug overdose, or people who collapse due to breathing problems.

Although Hands-Only CPR is an invaluable tool, it is encouraged that everyone become CPR certified. A typical CPR class is approximately four hours and costs about $40. In the CPR class you will learn how to perform conventional CPR on adults, children, and infants, as well as become familiar with the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator).

Ask any babysitter you hire or anyone who cares for your child if they are CPR certified. If they are not, you can offer to pay for it if they are willing to go through the training. You will feel more comfortable knowing your child is being watched by someone who is educated in CPR.

Please consider becoming CPR certified, and in the meantime, remember the steps of Hands-Only CPR. YOU COULD SAVE A LIFE.

To learn more about CPR for infants and children, make sure to check out Training for Parenthood: Infant and Child CPR.

This post is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician, doctor or health care professional. Please read our terms of use for more information.

Sources: Hands Only CPR
Photo Credits: Sasha Staton, Pixabay

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Sasha Staton

Sasha is a new mother to her baby boy and is loving motherhood! Sasha has dedicated her career to protecting the public and has served in almost every realm of public safety. Sasha is the Spokesperson for a Fire Department and is committed to teaching both children and adults about fire safety and prevention. Before diving into the fire service, she was a triple certified Law Enforcement Officer, Emergency Medical Technician, and Ocean Rescue Lifeguard. Sasha received her undergraduate degree in Family, Youth, and Community Science from the University of Florida and also holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice. In her free time, Sasha loves traveling with her family, doing DIY projects, and all water activities, especially kayaking with her two dogs on board.

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