Normal breathing is essential to maintaining life. A person who is gasping or breathing abnormally and are unresponsive require resuscitation.

With the casualty still on their back, the rescuer needs to look for signs of normal breathing, abnormal breathing or no breathing. This is done using the following technique:

  • The rescuer places a hand on the casualty’s chest, with their face close to the casualty’s nose and mouth.
  • Look down towards the casualty’s chest and……


LOOK for movement of the upper abdomen or lower chest.

LISTEN for the escape of air from nose and mouth.

FEEL for movement of the upper abdomen or chest.

If the casualty is breathing they must be immediately placed into the recovery position. Check the casualty’s signs of life and treat any serious injuries. The rescuer must continually check the casualty’s signs of life.

If the casualty is not breathing or is breathing abnormally, the rescuer must immediately commence Resuscitation.

Normal Breathing Rates
Adults15 years and older12-20 breaths/min
Older Child9-14 years15-20 breaths/min
Younger Child1-8 years20-30 breaths/min
Infant0-1 year30-40 breaths/min