Dr Mark Rosenthal


Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine

also specialist in Food Allergies & Disorders of Sleep

A | A | A

T: 0207 351 8832

E: s.harvey@rbht.nhs.uk

A:The Royal Brompton Hospital, London, SW3 6NP

All parents learn how to handle coughs, colds and minor injuries, but our first aid skills often stop there. We might not be sure what to do in a real emergency, especially when a child is having trouble breathing or needs CPR. You can’t always wait for the ambulance or an appointment with your respiratory paediatrician. Learning CPR could enable you to save a life.


One father who found his skills tested just months after he took a first aid course was Alec Brown, who was able to save the life of his baby son. The eight month old has fallen ill with a sudden respiratory illness in a remote part of Scotland but Alec was able to perform CPR before the ambulance arrived.

Learning CPR

Learning CPR can be particularly important if your child is being treated by a respiratory paediatrician for a chronic condition, but anyone could end up in need of help if there is an accident or they fall ill. Hopefully you will never be in a situation where these skills are needed, but if you do then you could help your own child, one of their friends or even a complete stranger.

  • You can learn a lot about first aid online, but the best way to learn techniques such as CPR is to attend a course where you can practice on a dummy. Going through the motions will teach your body what it feels like to perform chest compressions and resuscitation breaths.
  • The technique to use depends on whether you are helping a baby, toddler, child or adult. Don’t assume you can perform CPR on a toddler just because you’ve done an adult first aid course. Pick a course that suits your child’s age group and add to your skills as they get older.
  • Always call an ambulance if someone is unresponsive or not breathing. The best thing you can do is to ensure that help will arrive as soon as possible.

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