CPR Guidelines You Should Know Before Swimming

The ability to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a skill everyone should learn how to do confidently and safely, especially those who spend a lot of time in the water or around individuals with heart problems. 

The best way to learn CPR is to be trained through an accredited organization with a certified instructor. This will ensure that you are taught the safest possible ways to administer chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing. Knowing the proper CPR procedures will also help you to feel more confident in assisting someone if the need ever arises. 

What Are the 7 Steps of CPR?

The expanded CPR definition includes seven important steps to follow, including compressions and rescue breathing. You must do them in order and do them all. Try to remain as calm as possible and remember that it is always better to try something than to do nothing. 

1. Check Out the Situation

Make sure there is nothing in the vicinity that might harm you or the person who is unconscious while you are trying to help them. Tap the person on the shoulder and ask them if they can hear you and if they need help. Speak loudly and clearly. If they do not respond, immediately move on to the next step.

2. Get Help

Always call 911 as soon as possible. If there are other people present, start giving out assignments. Instruct someone to call 911, ask someone to try and locate an AED machine, and ask if there is anyone else present who is CPR certified and willing to help if you get exhausted. Never leave the victim alone. If no one else is with you, call 911 yourself and then begin the next steps immediately.

3. Open the Airway

Lay the person on their back, check to make sure nothing is in their mouth, and tilt their head back slightly so the chin is lifted. 

4. Check for Breathing

Put your cheek next to their mouth and listen and feel for breathing. If you do not detect breathing, begin CPR.

5. Begin Compressions

Put the heel of one hand on the victim’s chest between the nipple line and place the other hand on top of it. Push down hard, you should feel the chest lower about 2 inches, and repeat quickly. Try to push about 100 to 120 times per minute.

6. Rescue Breaths

With the victim’s head still tilted back slightly, create a tight seal around their mouth with your own mouth while pinching their nose closed. Blow into their mouth and watch for the chest to rise. After two breaths, return to chest compressions. If the chest does not rise during the first breath, check to make sure the head is still tilted and you have a tight seal when you blow. If the chest still does not rise after the second breath, check the airway for obstructions and carefully remove anything you find.

7. Continue Until Medical Personnel Arrives

Continue repetitions of chest compressions and rescue breathing until medical personnel are able to provide treatment. Keeping oxygen flowing to the brain until a medical team can take over increases the chance of survival and recovery.

What Is the Ratio of Breaths to Compressions for CPR?

The official CPR procedures published by the American Heart Association recommend that you administer 30 chest compressions followed by two breaths and repeat until medical personnel arrives to provide treatment. 

What Is the Correct Sequence of CPR?

After checking the scene and calling 911, use the acronym C-A-B to remember the order of CPR in an emergency—compressions, airway, breathing.  

What Are the New AHA CPR Guidelines?

The American Heart Association (AHA) CPR guidelines have been updated and it is important to be aware of these changes in order to be fully prepared.


  • Untrained Responders If you have never been CPR certified, or it has been a long time, use “compression-only CPR.” Do not apply rescue breathing unless the victim is a child.
  • Trained Responders Medical professionals and those who are trained in CPR should always administer both compressions and breaths.
  • Faster/Harder Compressions The AHA also recommends faster and harder compressions than previously outlined. They suggest following the beat of “Staying Alive,” by the Bee Gees. Aim for a compression depth of 2 inches on adults and 1½ inches on children.
  • C-A-B, Not A-B-C Previously, the acronym ABC was used to remember the order of the CPR steps. It is now recommended that compressions come first to reduce the time before the first compression.


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