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Lay Person Cpr On Infants


Lay person cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure for an infant who is 1 month to 1 year old. A lay person is someone who is not a trained healthcare worker. An infant may need CPR because his heart stopped beating or he stopped breathing. This may be due to an accident, injury, or medical condition. CPR combines chest compressions with rescue breathing. A chest compression is when you put pressure on and off the infant's chest. Rescue breathing means you give breaths to the infant through his mouth and nose.


If you find an infant who is not breathing:

  • Call 911 immediately, or send someone to call for help. Call 911 before you start CPR. The faster help arrives, the greater the chance the infant will live. Stay on the telephone with the 911 operator until he tells you to hang up.
  • Make sure the area is safe to enter, and approach the infant. Move him only if the area is dangerous, such as in a fire.
  • Kneel beside him. Look to see if his head, neck, or back may be hurt. Carefully turn him onto his back while you support his head and neck. Keep the infant's body straight as you turn him onto his back.
  • Begin CPR if the infant is not breathing or is only gasping. Continue CPR until he responds, help arrives, or an automated external defibrillator (AED) becomes available. An AED is a device that gives a person's heart a shock if it is needed. AEDs are often kept in public areas and are usually mounted to a wall.

How to give CPR to an infant:

  • Learn the steps used to give CPR to infants by remembering C-A-B : C hest compressions, A irway, and B reathing. Do 30 compressions immediately. Then open the infant's airway. Hold the airway open and give 2 rescue breaths. Repeat a pattern of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths until the infant responds, help arrives, or an AED becomes available.
  • If you are not able to give rescue breaths, you can do chest compressions without giving rescue breaths. Chest compressions alone make it more likely that the infant will live than if you do nothing at all. Do chest compressions until the infant responds, help arrives, or an AED becomes available.

To do chest compressions:

Chest compressions press the heart between the spine and sternum (breastbone). This forces blood out of the heart and to the infant's brain and body.

  • Kneel beside the infant's chest. Put the pads of 2 fingers where the infant's ribs meet in the middle of his chest, between the nipples. This area is called the sternum.

  • With the pads of your fingers, press straight down on the infant's sternum 1½ inches (4 centimeters). This should be at least ⅓ the depth of the infant's chest.
  • Do not push your hands forward when you press down. Go only up and down. The compressions should be constant and equal. This means that it should take the same amount of time to press down as it does to go back up. Allow the chest to relax completely between compressions. This allows blood to come back into the heart before you compress again. Leave your hands on the infant's chest in the correct hand position between compressions.
  • Do 30 chest compressions at a rate of at least 100 to 120 every minute (2 per second). Push hard and push fast. Hard, fast compressions are more likely to keep the infant's brain and heart alive. Count the compressions out loud to help you do them at a steady, even speed.

To open the infant's airway:

  • Put 1 hand on the infant's forehead and press firmly backward to tilt his head back. Do not place your hand on the back of his neck to tilt his head.
  • Lift the infant's chin with your other hand. Hold his mouth open. Do not press deeply into the soft tissue under his chin, because this can close his airway.

  • Look into the infant's mouth for something that may be blocking his airway at the back of his throat. Examples are food and small toys. If you see something that looks easy to get, carefully scoop it out with your finger.

To give rescue breaths:

  • Take a deep breath and put your lips around the infant's nose and mouth, making an airtight seal. If your mouth is too small to cover both the infant's mouth and nose, pinch his nose closed as you cover his mouth with yours.

  • Give 2 breaths (1 second for each breath) into the infant. Do not give large breaths. Do not breathe hard or fast. Take a normal breath for yourself after each breath that you give.
  • The infant's chest will rise each time you give a rescue breath if his airway is open. You may need to change his head position to reopen his airway. If you still cannot get air in, the airway may be blocked by an object. Look again to see if you find an object you can remove.

How to use an AED:

The following are general directions for AED use. Follow the step-by-step directions that may be found on or inside the AED. Do not remove an AED from its storage case unless you intend to use it. Remove all clothing from the infant's chest before you open the AED.

  • Open the AED: There may be a latch on one or both sides of the device to open it.
  • Find the electrode pads: You may need to pull a handle or open or unwrap the pads. The pads may be attached to the device by thin wires. Do not detach the pads from the device.
  • Prepare the pads: Electrode pads may have a sticky side that sticks to the infant's chest. You may need to remove paper backing from the pads to expose the sticky side before they can be used.
  • Prepare the infant: Move the infant out of water if needed. Wipe any water or blood off his chest. The skin must be dry before you apply the pads.
  • Apply the pads: Place one pad on either the left or right side of the upper chest, toward the middle and below the clavicle (collarbone). Place the other pad on the opposite side, just below and to the side of the breast. You may also place each pad on each side of the ribcage, just below and to the outside of the breasts.
  • Turn on the AED: The on button or switch should be clearly marked. The AED will tell you what to do next. If the AED tells you to shock, press the flashing red light. Do not touch the infant when the AED analyzes or shocks the infant. If no shock should be given, the AED will tell you to continue CPR.
  • Continue CPR: Give CPR again immediately after you give a shock or the AED is done analyzing. Continue CPR until the infant responds or help arrives. Stop CPR only to let the AED analyze.

Prevent respiratory and cardiac arrest in infants:

  • Foreign body airway obstruction: Do not leave small objects within the reach of children. Children tend to put small objects into their mouths. Examples include batteries, coins, marbles, buttons, balloons, and small toys or toy parts. Do not allow your child to hold anything small enough to fit through a toilet paper roll. Airway obstruction can also be caused by foods such as hot dogs, grapes, nuts, popcorn, and hard candy.
  • Suffocation: Do not leave plastic bags within reach of an infant. Your infant may put a plastic bag over his head, making him unable to breathe.
  • Strangulation: Keep drapery and extension cords out of an infant's reach. Do not put any type of cord or string around an infant's neck. Some examples include cords or strings with pacifiers or jewelry attached to them.
  • Drowning: Do not leave an infant alone in or near water. This includes a pool, bathtub, or pail of water.
  • Car safety: Keep your infant secured in a car safety seat while you are driving. Never leave your infant in a car alone. Do not drive if you have been drinking alcohol, or if you have taken illegal drugs or medicines that make you sleepy.
  • SIDS: Lay your infant on his back when you put him down to sleep. He may be at more risk of SIDS if he sleeps on his stomach or on a soft surface. Do not smoke near your infant.
  • Falls: Do not leave your infant alone on a high surface, such as a changing table.
  • Gun injuries: Store guns in a locked safe or cabinet out of the reach of children. Keep guns unloaded. Store and lock all bullets in a separate place out of the reach of children.
  • Poisoning: Keep cleaning supplies and other harmful products out of your infant's reach and locked up tightly.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.