Family Resources
Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation

“Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation,” Family Home Evening Resource Book (1997), 324

“Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation,” Family Home Evening Resource Book, 324

Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation

Smoke inhalation, heart attack, drowning, choking—all of these can stop a person’s breathing. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation may well be a gift of life to one of your own family members. You never know when an emergency will arise that requires you to use it. All family members should know how to perform this life-saving technique.


Have a family member become familiar enough with the following instructions that he can teach them to the rest of the family:

When you encounter someone who is not breathing, start mouth-to-mouth breathing right away. Do not wait to call for a doctor or aid. Don’t try to move the person or give secondary first aid before giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

The following chart explains the procedures in giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

If a victim appears to be unconscious:

Tap victim on the shoulder and shout, “Are you okay?”

If there is no response:

Tilt the victim’s head, chin pointing up. Place one hand under the victim’s neck and gently lift. At the same time, push with the other hand on the victim’s forehead. This will move the tongue away from the back of the throat to open the airway.

Immediately look, listen, and feel for air. While maintaining the backward head tilt position, place your cheek and ear close to the victim’s mouth and nose. Look for the chest to rise and fall while you listen and feel for the return of air. Check for about five seconds.

If the victim is not breathing:

Check for and clear any foreign matter from the victim’s mouth. Give four quick breaths. Maintain the backward head tilt, pinch the victim’s nose with the hand that is on the victim’s forehead to prevent leakage of air; open your mouth wide; take a deep breath; seal your mouth around the victim’s mouth, and blow into the victim’s mouth with four quick but full breaths just as fast as you can. When blowing, take only enough time between breaths to lift your head slightly for better inhalation. For an infant, give gentle puffs and blow into both the mouth and nose, and do not tilt the head back as far as for an adult.

If the chest does not rise when you blow, it may help to reposition the head and try again.

Again, look, listen, and feel for air exchange.

If there is still no breathing:

Change rate to one breath every five seconds for an adult.

For an infant, blow into mouth and nose at the same time. Give one gentle puff every three seconds.

Mouth-to-nose method. The mouth-to-nose method, instead of the mouth-to-mouth method, can be used in the same sequence described above. Maintain the backward headtilt position with one hand on the victim’s forehead. Remove the other hand from under the neck and close the victim’s mouth. Blow into the victim’s nose. Open the victim’s mouth to look, listen, and feel for breath.

For more information about these and other lifesaving techniques, contact your Red Cross chapter for training.