Performing CPR on an Infant

Performing CPR on an Infant

Having to preform CPR to save your infant’s life is a thought no parent wants to imagine, however it is important that you be prepared for the situation in the event that it does occur. The American Red Cross recommends that all parents take an infant and child CPR course. You will only have to dedicate a few hours of your time and it can end up being the difference between life and death.   You can go to The American Red Cross’ website to find an infant and child CPR class near you.

It’s hard not to panic if you find your baby unresponsive but it is important to remain calm so that you can take proper action.  First, check your baby’s responsiveness by loudly calling his name and flicking your fingers against his feet. If there is no response ask someone to call emergency help. If you are alone it is recommended that you give care for 1 minute prior to calling local emergency services. If there is an object obstructing the baby’s air way try getting it out with your finger. If there is something in the airway and the child is conscious but choking administer first aid before beginning CPR.

The BabyCenter article “Infant first aid for choking and CPR: An illustrated guide” lists the following steps to remember when preforming CPR on a baby:

Step 1: Open the baby’s airway.

Place the baby on their back. Tilt the head back with one hand and slightly lift his chin with the other hand.

Step 2: Give two gentle “rescue” breaths.

If you determine the baby is not breathing administer two small rescue breaths for one second each. Cover the baby’s nose and mouth and gently exhale into his lungs until you are able to see his chest rise. Pause between rescue breaths in order to let the air back out.

If the baby isn’t breathing, give him two little breaths, each lasting just one second. Cover the baby’s nose and mouth with your mouth and gently exhale into his lungs only until you see his chest rise, pausing between rescue breaths to let the air flow back out. Do not provide too large of a breath as this can force air into the baby’s stomach cavity.

Step 3: Do 30 chest compressions.

Place two fingers of one hand just below an imaginary horizontal line between his nipples. Using the pads of your fingers, gently compress the chest smoothly pushing straight down. You should do 30 chest compressions at a rate of 100 per minute.  It is advised you count aloud to keep track (i.e. “one and two and three”).  When you are counting you should be pushing down as you say the number and coming up as you say “and”. After you have completed 30 compressions administer two more rescue breaths. Each cycle of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths should take approximately 24 seconds.

Step 5: Repeat compressions and breaths.

Continue the cycle until help arrives. Even if the CPR is successful and the baby appears fine by the time emergency help arrives it is still recommend that he be taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

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