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Baby primary survey

If your baby is hurt, assess their injuries using the primary survey. Remember the steps using DR ABC – Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing, Circulation.

Watch our video - Baby primary survey

1. Danger: if there is a danger in the area (eg. broken glass), make sure that it is safe for you to approach without injuring yourself.

Baby Primary Survey - check response

2. Response: See if your baby reacts to you by calling their name or gently tapping or flicking the sole of their foot. Never shake an infant.

  • • If they do not respond to you, they may unresponsive – open their airway.
  • • If your baby is awake, alert, and breathing normally move on to checking them for other injuries (circulation).

Open their airway3. 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.

Check they are breathing normally4. 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: your priority is to maintain their airway before checking for any other injuries. Do not move them unless they are in danger or they stop breathing normally. Hold your baby in the recovery position by cradling them in your arms with the head tilted downwards. This will protect their airway. While holding them in the recovery position, check them over for other injuries. Take the baby with you while you call for emergency help.

5. 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 (Secondary Survey).

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

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