How to Perform CPR on a Child or Infant

By ryan

CPR is one of those things that everyone should know how to do—even if everyone hopes they’ll never have to use it. This is especially true for parents and other caregivers, since knowing CPR could save your child or infant’s life.

Unfortunately, adult CPR certification doesn’t automatically qualify you to perform CPR on children or infants, as the procedures are different.

The best way to be fully prepared for an emergency requiring CPR on an infant or child is to take a certification course that is tailored specifically to those age groups. However, we at Infant CPR believe that it is crucial that everyone at least know the basics. Today, we’re sharing the most vital, need-to-know information about how to perform CPR on a child or infant.

How to perform CPR on an infant (ages 0-1)

Here are the five basic steps for quick reference if you find yourself in an emergency situation requiring you to perform CPR on an infant (a child under one year of age).

Step 1: Check for responsiveness.

Gently tap the infant's foot or shoulder and yell. If the baby is unresponsive, move on to the next step and call 911 immediately.

Step 2: Give 30 chest compressions.

Put the baby on a hard, flat surface. Take 2 fingers and find the center of the chest just below the imaginary line between the nipples. Push down 1/3 the thickness of the chest at a rate of 100/minute. The AHA recommends pushing to the beat of "Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees.

Step 3: Open the airway.

Gently tilt the head back, being careful to not tilt it too far.

Step 4: Give 2 breaths.

Cover the mouth and the nose with your mouth, creating a seal, and give 2 gentle breaths, watching to see the chest rise and then release.

Step 5: Continue giving infant CPR until help arrives.

CPR keeps blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until advanced medical help can take over.

For more comprehensive training for performing CPR on an infant, register for Infant CPR’s online infant CPR class.

How to perform CPR on a child (ages 1-8)

Here are the basic steps for quick reference if you find yourself in an emergency situation requiring you to perform CPR on a child (between 1-8 years of age). These guidelines are based on information provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Step 1: Check for responsiveness.

Shake or tap the child gently. Shout the child’s name or “Are you okay?” If the child is unresponsive and you are alone, move on to the next step. If there is another person with you, tell them to call 911.

Step 2: Give 30 chest compressions.

Place the child on his or her back. (Note: if a spinal injury is possible, two people should move the child, preventing the head and neck from twisting.) Place the heel of the hand on the breastbone, just below the nipples. Keep the child’s head tilted back. Push down 1/3 the thickness of the chest 30 times. The compressions should be fast and hard, without pauses.

Step 3: Open the airway.

Lift the chin and tilt the head back by pressing down on the forehead.

Step 4: Look, listen, and feel for breathing.

Put your ear close to the child’s mouth and nose, with your face pointed toward their chest. This will allow you to hear breath, feel breath on your cheek, or see the chest rise and fall. If the child is not breathing, continue to step 5.

Step 5: Give 2 rescue breaths.

Cover the child’s mouth with your mouth (tightly, creating a seal), and pinch the nose closed. Keeping the chin lifted, give 2 breaths, watching to see the chest rise and then release. Each breath should take about a second.

Step 6: Continue giving CPR (30 chest compressions, 2 breaths, repeat) until help arrives.

If you are alone, give CPR for at least two minutes before stopping to call 911. Once you’ve called 911, continue giving CPR until help arrives.

For more comprehensive training on performing CPR for a young child, register for Infant CPR’s Child CPR class.

Following these simple steps will help you be prepared with the basics of CPR if you are ever in an emergency situation with a child or infant. If you want to be fully prepared, complete a comprehensive training course like those available through Infant CPR. These courses are convenient and thorough, and will increase your confidence as a parent or caregiver. Register today!