How to Perform CPR on an Infant

The following instructions are for performing CPR on an infant ONLY. There are different procedures for older children and adults.

Nobody would like to think that they would ever have to use CPR for an infant, however, it’s important to know the steps so that you can help in the event of a cardiac or breathing emergency.

We are going to start off by giving the procedure in brief and then will break these steps down so that you fully understand how to perform CPR on an infant safely.

Below, you will find not only the text version but also a video that’s going to demonstrate everything step by step.

If you have found your baby lying on the floor, not moving, you should take the steps below.

Infant CPR Procedure

Lay your baby down on their back on the floor and check first to see if they are breathing. Check for a pulse and call 999 (911 if in the US)

Look down their throat as far as you can to see if it is clear that anything is stuck. If it is, use your little finger to sweep it out and unblock the airway.

Cover your baby’s mouth and nose with your mouth and give the baby 2 deep breaths followed by 30 chest compressions. Continue to repeat until medical help arrives.

Infant CPR Breakdown

Now that you understand the procedure, let’s take a deeper look.

Roll the Baby Over

If your baby is not laying on their back you need to roll them over and make sure that they are on a hard, flat surface such as the floor. Failure to do this will result in the emergency breathing and chest compressions not being effective.

Are They Breathing?

To check to see if your baby is breathing, touch your ear to their nose and mouth and place your hand over their stomach and chest. Do you feel any air coming out? Is his chest or stomach rising and falling?

Check for a Pulse

An infant’s pulse can be checked by feeling the inside of their thigh above the knee, and also the inside of their arms above the elbows. Press into those areas with your first two fingers.

Never use your thumb to test for a pulse as it can give false readings as your thumb has a pulse of it’s own.

Call 999 (911 if US)

You need to get medical help immediately. With todays smartphones it is easy to place the call on loudspeaker so that you can put the phone down while giving CPR. You should also know that CPR doesn’t work like it does in the movies. Your baby is probably not going to be ok just because you give him a few breaths and compressions. Instead, you will be providing life support for your child until trained medical personnel get there.

Check the Airway

Tilt your baby’s head back and look as far down into their throat as possible to check for a blockage. A small flashlight will help if you have one at hand. If you see something blocking the airway, use your little finger and make a hooking / sweeping motion from one side of their throat to the other.

If there is no visible blockage, do not stick your fingers in their mouth. You could push the object further into her throat without meaning to.

Give Breaths

If you have a CPR mask, if not, make sure that you cover both your baby’s mouth and nose with your own mouth with a tight seal so that no air escapes while giving breaths. If this is not possible, pinch their nose and breath into just their mouth.

Give 2 deep breaths, while making sure your baby’s chin is tilted up higher than their forehead. This will allow the air to reach the lungs. Breath out hard into their mouth and nose. Watch to see if their chest rises and falls. If you’re breathing out hard and you can’t see your baby’s chest move, it means that they’ve got something blocking their airway.

If as you breathe you see their chest moving, it means that the air is getting into their lungs. Breathe twice for your baby, and then switch to chest compressions.

You should skip the chest compressions if your baby has a pulse, but is not breathing. Just breathe regularly for her and keep checking her airway until help arrives.

Chest Compressions

You need to give your baby 30 chest compressions. Wrap your hands around your baby’s torso, placing your thumbs on the top of their chest between the nipples.

Push down hard and fast with your thumbs to compress their chest. Do this 30 times. Do not worry about hurting your baby when you do the compressions.

Occasionally, you can crack a rib when you start doing compressions. It’s rare, but it can be scary but you must realize that the life of your baby is on the line. A cracked rib is not fatal. If they are not breathing and don’t have a heartbeat, that IS fatal.

Repeat

Repeat the breaths and chest compressions making sure to check the airway between each set until an ambulance arrives, or until your baby begins to breathe on their own.

Watch this video for step by step instructions:

You may even want to practice on a doll at home, or consider getting certified in CPR. Remember, muscle memory is your friend in an emergency. If you’ve never attempted CPR, never practiced it, never prepared for it, you’re going to have a hard time when the stress is on.

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