FIRST AID: Primary survey for babies under one year old

St John Ambulance has given advice on how to carry out a primary survey on a baby, under one year old, who has fallen ill  (PA Photo/thinkstockphotos)
St John Ambulance has given advice on how to carry out a primary survey on a baby, under one year old, who has fallen ill (PA Photo/thinkstockphotos)
Andy Cloud, 59, from Southsea, had a stroke in January. He is taking part in the Stroke Association's Step Out For Stroke walk at Canoe Lake on June 9

Stroke survivor, 59, signs up to take part in Southsea fun walk

Have your say

first aid

Assess your baby’s injuries using the primary survey. Remember the steps using DRABC:

n Danger: if there is a danger in the area, make sure that it is safe for you to approach without injuring yourself.

n Response: See if they react by calling their name or gently tapping or flicking the sole of their foot. Never shake an infant. If they do not respond, they may be unconscious – open their airway.

If your baby is awake, alert, and breathing normally check them for other injuries (circulation).

n Airway: if your baby is not responsive, open their airway. Place a hand on the baby’s forehead, gently tilt the head back and lift the chin with your fingertip to open the airway.

n Breathing: check to see if they are breathing normally – look for chest movement, listen for sounds and try to feel their breath on your cheek. If they are not breathing normally: keep the airway open and pick out any visible obstructions from their mouth, but take care not to push anything further into the throat.

Start baby CPR. If they are breathing normally, maintain their airway before checking for any other injuries. Do not move them unless they are in danger or they stop breathing normally. To protect their airway, hold your baby in the recovery position by cradling them in your arms with the head tilted downwards. While holding them in the recovery position, check them over for other injuries. Take the baby with you while you call for emergency help.

n Circulation: if they are breathing normally, check their circulation. Run your hands down their body and check for any bleeds or other injuries. If your baby has a bleed or any other injury, such as a head injury or broken bone, treat for this now.

n If your baby has a serious injury or becomes unresponsive (unconscious), call 999/112 for help, keep checking their breathing and prepare to do CPR if they stop breathing normally.

As the nation’s leading first aid charity, St John Ambulance believes that nobody should die because they needed first aid and didn’t get it. St John Ambulance teaches people first aid so that they can be the difference.

For quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website ( offers demo videos, an interactive game, and lots of free advice.

For more information about first aid courses call 0303 003 0101.