How to Perform CPR on an Infant

No one likes to consider the possibility of having a baby choke or need CPR. Unfortunately, infants will need CPR on occasion. If you find yourself in such a situation, will you be able to provide CPR for an infant?

The basic steps of CPR for infants are the same as standard CPR. However, there are a few critical differences. Remember that babies are much more fragile than children or adults. Even as you try to save the infant’s life, you must be gentle.

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Signs the Baby Needs CPR

Like you would for an adult, begin by tapping the baby’s shoulder and loudly asking “Are you okay?” If the baby doesn’t respond, begin CPR immediately. Other signs to watch for include:

  • The baby is turning blue.
  • The baby is not breathing or appears to be gasping for breath.
  • The baby seems to be trying to cry and unable to. 

Chest Compressions

At the rate of about 110 compressions per minute, give 30 compressions to the center of the infant’s chest using two or three fingers. NEVER use your full hand or fist to administer infant CPR, as this will crush the baby’s fragile ribcage and kill them. Use your fingers to compress the chest about a third of the way down, approximately 1.5 inches. Allow the chest to rise completely between compressions.

Rescue Breaths

Tilt the baby’s head back just enough to open the airway and place your ear over the mouth and nose. If you don’t hear normal breathing or the baby isn’t breathing at all, cover the infant’s mouth and nose with your own mouth and give two gentle breaths, each one second long. Watch to make sure the baby’s chest rises with each breath. If the baby continues to not respond after 1-2 minutes of CPR, call 911 or have another person call.

Pro Tip: If you have access to an AED and pediatric shock pads, use them if the baby continues to be unresponsive. 

Saving a Baby’s Life

Infant CPR is a delicate balance of gentleness and urgency, and no mere description can fully prepare you for the experience. To fully understand how to care for an infant who needs emergency attention, attend a specialized CPR class where you can practice on a baby doll. You can never be sure when this skill can save an infant’s life.

Connect with us to learn more about emergency care and how to safely perform CPR on small children.