Administering CPR To An Infant

CPR — cardiopulmonary resuscitation — is a basic lifesaving technique used when breathing stops and/or the heart no longer beats. In children, CPR is rarely needed for heart problems. More often it is needed for breathing problems due to choking, smoke inhalation, lung disease such as asthma, accidents or drowning.

To enroll in a CPR course, contact your local office of the American Red Cross or American Heart Association. Here is an overview of the basic steps in performing CPR on an infant:

    • Assess And Get Help
      The first few seconds should be used to figure out whether the child is unresponsive or having trouble breathing. To do this, call out the child’s name, gently tap or shake his shoulder and watch for any reaction. If you get no response, shout for help and begin CPR. If you are not alone, have someone else dial 911.
    • Position The Baby
      Place the baby on his back on a flat surface such as a table or the floor; otherwise hold the baby over your thigh. If the child has injured himself, be careful when moving him. It is always best to support the head and neck.
    • Open The Airway
      Place one hand on the child’s forehead and the other under his chin. Slightly tilt the child’s head back to open the airway by lifting the chin up and out while pushing down on the forehead; an infant’s head should not be tilted as much as an adult’s.
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    • Check For Breathing
      Turn your head toward the child’s chest and place your ear and cheek over the child’s mouth to hear or feel any signs of breathing. Watch for chest movement. If you can hear or feel the baby breathing, help him maintain an open airway but do not start rescue breathing. If the baby is not breathing, begin rescue breathing.
    • Give Gentle Puffs
      Keep the head tilted. Take a deep breath then place your mouth over the baby’s nose and mouth, making a tight seal, and give a slow breath (about one and one-half to two seconds long). Repeat for two to five breaths. The baby’s chest should rise with each breath. If it does not, re-position the head to make sure the baby’s airway is open.
    • Check The Pulse
      Since the neck pulse (carotid artery) is hard to locate on an infant, use two or three fingers to feel for the pulse on the inside of the upper arm (brachial artery), about halfway between the elbow and the shoulder. If there’s a pulse but the infant is not breathing, continue rescue breathing — one breath every five seconds. If there is no pulse, begin chest compressions.
    • Compress The Chest
      Place your middle and ring fingers of one hand on the middle of the breastbone, about half an inch below the nipples, and push in a downward motion toward the baby’s back about one-half to one inch. You should compress 100 to 120 times per minute in a smooth fashion — or about five compressions every three seconds. After every five compressions, give the baby one gentle breath. Your other hand should be pressing down on the baby’s forehead to make sure the airway remains open.
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CPR Child

  • Repeat Five Compressions And One Breath
    Give one rescue breath after every five compressions. Count out loud as you do this: “one, two, three, four, five, breathe.”
  • Call For Help After One Minute
    If you are alone and cannot send another person for help, perform CPR for about one minute (20 cycles of five compressions and one breath). Then call 911 or your local emergency number. Resume CPR as soon as possible after calling for help.
  • Check For Return Of Breathing Or Pulse
    Every minute or so, check for the return of the pulse by feeling the upper arm. If there is no pulse, continue chest compressions and rescue breathing. If there is a pulse, check for breathing. If there is no breathing, continue rescue breathing with one breath every three seconds (20 breaths per minute). Continue to monitor pulse and breathing until emergency personnel arrive.

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