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CPR for Babies - The Basics

We define a baby as any child under twelve months old. This guide will walk through the basics for performing CPR on a baby. Please keep in mind that this is only a basic guide and does not cover all of the necessary things that our full Infant CPR class covers.

How can I tell if my baby needs CPR?

The first step is to make sure that your baby actually needs CPR. Performing CPR on a baby that does NOT need CPR can be dangerous.

The primary indicator that a baby needs CPR is unresponsiveness. If the baby does not respond to gentle but firm taps on the bottom of the foot, and loudly calling the baby’s name, then the baby probably needs CPR.

Unresponsiveness indicates no automatic function of the heart and lungs. Read more about the purpose of CPR to understand the role CPR plays in restoring automatic function.

How to perform CPR on a baby

After you determine that the baby is not responsive, you will then begin the CPR steps. Please keep in mind that this guide is not comprehensive and is intended to give you the bare minimum to help in an emergency. Please take the full Infant CPR (same as baby) class to watch videos, study the written curriculum, and take an exam.

  1. First place the baby on a hard surface.
  2. Take two fingers and push down hard and fast 30x just below the line between the nipples.
  3. Push at a rate of about 100/minute or about 2 per second. Push about 1.5” deep. This is about ⅓ the depth of the chest.
  4. Gently tilt the head back and put your mouth around the nose and mouth of the infant creating a seal.
  5. Gently breathe two breaths watching the chest rise then release after each breath. Go back to 30 chest compressions.

If you don’t have immediate access to a phone, give CPR for 2 minutes then go call 911. Immediately come back and continue giving cpr on the baby.

Learn more about our CPR classes

What is the baby CPR ratio of compressions to breaths?

The ratio for compressions to breaths is 30 : 2. This means you will give 30 compessions followed by two breaths.

Should I expect the baby to regain consciousness?

One of the biggest myths of CPR is that it will cause the victim to regain consciousness. More often than not, the baby will not regain consciousness. Continue giving CPR until help arrives and is able to take over. If the baby does wake up, then immediately stop giving CPR.

I am afraid of doing the wrong thing, what should I do?

Some CPR is better than no CPR. Don’t let the fear of doing something wrong prevent you from trying. Remember, the primary reason that people don’t give CPR is they are afraid of doing it wrong.

What’s the most important thing to remember about chest compressions on a baby?

The most important thing to do when giving a chest compression is to push deep enough. Shallow compressions don’t adequately pump the heart.

What’s the most important thing to remember about rescue breaths on a baby?

The most important thing with rescue breathing is to make sure that the chest rises and releases after each breath. If the chest does not rise, then the air probably didn’t get through and the breath was not effective.

I’m alone and not around a telephone, what should I do?

As with any medical emergency, it is vital that you get advanced medical help on the scene as soon as possible. There are times, however, when a mobile phone is not readily available or you are alone.

In such a case, you will want to give 5 sets of 30 compressions and 2 breaths before going to find medical help. It is ok to take the baby with you if you don’t expect a spinal injury.

Whats the difference between baby CPR and infant CPR?

There is no difference between baby CPR and infant CPR. They are both terms to indicate the same age group of 0-12 months when it comes to CPR.

What is the difference between cpr on a baby and cpr on a child?

For the purposes of CPR, a child is anybody between the ages of 1 year and 8 years. The primary differences include:

  • Use two fingers with babies for compressions and use your palm with children.
  • Cover the baby’s mouth and nose to create a seal with your mouth. With children, you pinch the nose with your finger or you give hands-only cpr. 

When should I stop giving CPR to my baby?

Don’t stop giving CPR unless either of the following takes place:

  • The baby regains consciousness. 
  • Advanced medical help arrives and is ready to take over.

What’s the main thing I need to remember?

If you are in the midst of an emergency and are panicking, remember 30:2. We recommend that you commit that ratio to memory.

30 compressions : 2 breaths

30 compressions : 2 breaths

30 compressions : 2 breaths

30 compressions : 2 breaths

30 compressions : 2 breaths

If you are alone, go call 911.

30 compressions : 2 breaths

continue until help arrives...

Want to learn more?

Our full Infant CPR class will teach you everything you need to know about CPR for your baby. It includes important topics such as making sure the scene is safe and deep dives into the most important aspects of CPR. You will also receive demonstration videos, extensive written curriculum, and a multiple choice exam. Print your certificate of completion after you pass the test. 

Our classes are built for new moms who are busy and tired but still want to learn these skills. Are you a new mom? Get empowered with the knowledge of CPR today!


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What Mom's Say

As a new mom, learning baby CPR wasn't even on my radar. I was so preoccupied with carseats, diapers, and other essentials I completely forgot to learn how to save my little girl's life. InfantCPR.com was perfect for me.  -  Cassandra A.  

I took the infant CPR class before I had my first child. I feel empowered and more confident as a new mom now. I'm so grateful for this gem of a website.   - Sarah M.

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