What Is the Indication for Mouth-to-Mouth Rescue Breaths?

ProTrainings What Is the Indication for Mouth-to-Mouth Rescue Breaths?

Table of Contents

  1. What Is the Indication for Mouth-to-Mouth Rescue Breaths During CPR?
  2. In What Other Situations Is Mouth-to-Mouth Breathing Recommended?
  3. How Do You Administer Mouth-to-Mouth Rescue Breaths?
    1. Administering Rescue Breaths to Adults 
    2. Administering Rescue Breaths to Children 
    3. Administering Rescue Breaths to Infants
  4. How Can You Get Your Staff Trained and Certified?

Mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing is an essential tool in first aid that involves blowing air into a patient’s lungs when their respiratory system isn’t working. 

But while rescue breathing is most often associated with CPR, it’s not always used during resuscitation. People often ask, “What is the indication for mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths as opposed to hands-only CPR?”

In some instances, hands-only CPR is
just as effective as full CPR

In others, mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths are indispensable and can mean the difference between losing a patient and saving them. 

Different CPR tools will need to be used in different situations. Rescue breaths, for example, may be required in situations that don’t involve cardiac arrest.

To perform mouth-to-mouth breathing effectively, you need to know which situations do and don’t require it. So, what is the indication for mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths during CPR, and when should you use other CPR methods? Read on to find out.

What Is the Indication for Mouth-to-Mouth Rescue Breaths During CPR?

Typically, when we think of CPR, we picture a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths. But whether you use one, the other, or both depends on the situation and the victim.

Here’s how a pro rescuer resuscitates a victim:

Adults have large lungs, which can hold more air, so if an adult patient is experiencing cardiac arrest, you don’t need to administer rescue breaths within the first few minutes. 

Rescuers should prioritize chest compressions to keep oxygen circulating to the victim’s organs. 

Children and infants, on the other hand, have small lungs that don’t hold very much air, so they need rescue breaths to keep their blood oxygen-rich. You should administer two rescue breaths for every 30 chest compressions.

Additionally, “What is the indication for mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths?” always has the same answer when finding an unresponsive person.

Since the person is unresponsive, make sure 911 has been called.  Then, if there is no breathing, start CPR.  While this has been a major topic of discussion, if you have training and are able to give breaths, it is still recommended to do so.  If you are not comfortable giving breaths, Hands Only CPR may be appropriate, but if the adult patient is in cardiac arrest due to a respiratory issue (drowning, severe asthma attack, choking, etc.) full CPR is still recommended.  All children should receive full CPR as well.

In What Other Situations Is Mouth-to-Mouth Breathing Recommended?

What Is the Indication for Mouth-to-Mouth Rescue Breaths?

There are instances outside of cardiac arrest in which mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths are recommended. Generally, these are situations in which a patient has stopped breathing or isn’t moving and still has circulation, such as:

  • Near drowning. According to Healthline, mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths on a victim who has inhaled a great deal of water can help get air into their lungs so they can breathe more easily.
  • Drug overdose. Drugs — particularly opiates — can lead to respiratory depression or decrease the functioning of the respiratory system. 
  • Asthma attacks. In asthma attack cases, because the obstruction in the respiratory system has caused an oxygen shortage, rescue breaths are essential.

When used in the right scenario, 

rescue breaths can save lives. 

Before we dive in to the “how” of performing rescue breaths, you can share the lifesaving information above with our easy-to-read infographic.

Now that you can answer, “What is the indication for mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths?”, let’s explore how to perform them.

How Do You Administer Mouth-to-Mouth Rescue Breaths?

Administering rescue breaths correctly depends on who you’re rescuing. Here are the steps for administering rescue breaths to adults, children, and infants.

If you’d prefer a visual guide, we’ve got you covered with our rescue breaths PDF. It’s an easy way to drill the basics with your classroom, team, or community.

Administering Rescue Breaths to Adults 

For rescue breaths to save lives, they must be performed properly. When administering mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths to adults, use the following steps:

  1. Open the airway by tilting the chin up.
  2. Pinch the victim’s nose shut.
  3. Take a normal breath and put your mouth over the other person’s mouth to form a seal.
  4. Breathe into the person’s mouth steadily for one second, with enough force to make their chest rise. 
  5. Remove your mouth to let the victim’s chest fall before administering the next breath.   Continue giving 1 breath every 6 seconds.

Administering Rescue Breaths to Children

Here’s how a professional would administer rescue breaths to a child:

And here’s how you, a lay rescuer, can administer rescue breaths to a child:

The steps to administering rescue breaths to a child over 1 year differ slightly from rescue breathing on an adult. You’ll want to follow these steps: 

  1. Place the head in a neutral position and lift the chin, opening the airway.
  2. Close the nostrils gently using your fingers. 
  3. Open their mouth slightly, keeping the chin pointing upwards.
  4. Take a breath, then form a seal around their mouth with your mouth.
  5. Blow a breath steadily into their mouth over about 1 second, watching for the chest to just rise. 
  6. Keeping their head tilted and chin lifted, take your mouth away and watch for the chest to fall as air comes out.
  7. Take another breath and repeat this sequence every 2-3 seconds.

Administering Rescue Breaths to Infants

To properly administer rescue breaths to a child under 1 year, use the following steps: 

  1. Place the head in a neutral position and lift the chin, opening the airway.
  2. Take a breath, then seal the mouth and nose with your mouth. If you cannot cover both the mouth and nose at the same time, choose one to seal with your mouth while keeping the other closed with your fingers. 
  3. Blow a breath steadily into the mouth and nose over 1 second. It should be sufficient to make the chest visibly rise.
  4. Keeping their head tilted and chin lifted, take your mouth away and watch for the chest to fall as air comes out.
  5. Take another breath and repeat this sequence every 2-3 seconds.

How to Know If More Help Is Needed

Depending on the original cause of the emergency and why rescue breathing or mouth-to-mouth was needed, you may need to continue rescue breaths for some time. 

To know whether or not to continue rescue breaths, look for a change in color (pink indicates improvement), spontaneous breathing, or movement of the eyes, mouth or other parts of the body.

All of those are signs that the victim is being revived, and rescue breaths may not be needed for much longer. 

However, if the victim is unmoving, turning gray or blue, or if there was movement that’s stopped, they may need full CPR again. 

Be sure to reassess the victim every two minutes to make sure that rescue breathing can continue. If you no longer believe the victim has a pulse, the victim may need CPR with compressions and breaths.

How Can You Get Your Staff Trained & Certified?

At ProTrainings, our goal is to help people save lives. That’s why we’ve created world-class virtual, in-person, and blended courses to make sure everyone has the skills they need to be a rescuer. 

We know how hard it can be to get your team trained, and we’re here to make the learning process easier for you and your staff. In addition to, “What is the indication for mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths?”, our courses address when and how to perform CPR and first aid on babies, children, and adults.
Contact us today to see how ProTrainings can make getting your staff CPR certified easier and more efficient!