Health & Safety Training

How To Perform Infant CPR

Written by Pam Graham
Infant CPR


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure used to treat patients following a cardiac arrest.

Through chest compressions and rescue breaths, the procedure helps to supply oxygen to the brain and other organs of the body until normal breathing is achieved or professional help arrives. 

Unlike adults, babies rarely face cardiac arrest due to heart disease. The leading cause of a cardiac arrest in a baby is a significant illness or injury.

Before performing CPR on a baby, you will need to determine whether there is a need to do so. CPR is not required if the baby is breathing normally. 

Hence, the first thing you need to do is check whether the baby is breathing or not. If the baby isn’t breathing, only gasping, not responding to your touch, not moving, or becoming alert, you must perform CPR.

At this moment, if you have someone around, ask them to call an ambulance and get an automatic external defibrillator (AED), and start CPR yourself.

If you’re alone, perform five cycles of CPR that will take 2 minutes while simultaneously calling an ambulance. After the five cycles of CPR, try to get an AED if possible. If you’re alone and unfortunately have no cell phone, perform five cycles of CPR, then look for a landline to call an ambulance and find an AED, if available.

Keep on reading to know how to perform CPR on an infant:

Step 1: Chest Compressions

To perform CPR on an infant, lay your baby down on a flat surface. Without wasting time, put two fingers right below the baby’s nipple line, on the breastbone, and perform 30 chest compressions. Ideally, the chest compressions should be quick, and the chest should be pressed at least 1.5 inches deep. Continue the compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions a minute. Between the compressions, allow the baby’s chest to return to its original position so that the blood flows to the brain and other organs.

Step 2: Rescue Breaths

After every 30 chest compressions, you give the baby two rescue breaths. But before giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, you must first open the infant’s airway. You can do this by placing the heel of your hand on the infant’s forehead. You will then have to put two fingers underneath the baby’s chin. Once your hand and fingers are in place, gradually tilt the head back.

Once the airway opens, seal the baby’s nose and mouth using your mouth and perform 2 rescue breaths. 

While each breath should not be longer than 1 second, it should just be enough to make the baby’s chest rise. In the case that the chest doesn’t rise, check if the head position is correct and whether the seal is tight enough. Then, perform the breaths again.

Step 3: Repeat the Compressions and the Rescue Breaths

Once you’ve given 5 cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths in 2 minutes, repeat the practice until professional help arrives, or the baby shows signs of consciousness. The 2-minute procedure is typically tiring, so take turns doing it if you have someone there to help you.

Step 4: Recovery Position

If the baby starts breathing after CPR, they may vomit and have difficulty breathing. Then you should place the baby in the recovery position. The recovery position means putting them on the ground in a way that their chin points slightly away from their chest, and their face should be positioned on the surface of the ground. Nothing should cover or block the baby’s nose or mouth at this time. This position helps keep the baby’s airways open.

Expert Training

The above information is only a guide on CPR on an infant. In no way does it replace hands-on CPR training. If you wish to learn how to perform CPR on an infant and to get a 2-year certification, sign up for a CPR training course, where you’ll receive training from a certified medical practitioner.

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