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Lay Person CPR On Newborns


What is lay person CPR on newborns?

Lay person cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure for a newborn who is up to 1 month old.

PLEASE NOTE - Recommendations for the newborn are different from recommendations for infants. Click here for information on CPR for Infants.

A lay person is anyone who is not a trained healthcare worker . A newborn will usually need CPR because he or she stopped breathing. He or she may need CPR because his or her heart stopped beating. This may be due to an accident, injury, or medical condition. CPR combines rescue breathing with chest compressions. Rescue breathing means you give breaths to the newborn through his or her mouth and nose. A chest compression means you put pressure on and off the newborn's chest.

What are some important things to remember about CPR on newborns?

  • Start CPR before you call 911 if you are alone when you find the newborn. If you are with another person, one person can start CPR and the other can call 911 or go for help.
  • Learn the steps used to give CPR to newborns by remembering C-A-B. This stands for chest C ompressions, A irway, and rescue B reathing. Do 30 compressions immediately. Then open the newborn's airway. Hold the airway open and give 2 rescue breaths. A cycle is 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths.
  • Do chest compressions even if you cannot give rescue breaths. Chest compressions alone make it more likely that the newborn will live than if you do nothing at all.

What should I do if I find a newborn who is not breathing normally?

  • Make sure the area is safe to enter, and approach the newborn. Move him or her only if the area is dangerous, such as in a fire.
  • Kneel beside the newborn. Look to see if his or her head, neck, or back may be hurt. Carefully turn the newborn onto his or her back while you support his or her head and neck. Keep the newborn's body straight as you turn him or her.

  • Begin CPR if the newborn is not breathing or is only gasping. Continue CPR until he or she responds, help arrives, or an automated external defibrillator (AED) is 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.
    AED (Automatic External Defibrillator)
  • Continue CPR for 2 minutes or 5 cycles. Then call 911 , or send someone to call for help. Stay on the telephone with the operator until he or she tells you to hang up.

How do I give chest compressions?

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

  • Put the pads of your 2 thumbs where the newborn's ribs meet in the middle of his or her chest, between the nipples. This area is called the sternum.
  • With the pads of your thumbs, press down on the newborn's sternum 1½ inches (4 centimeters). This should be at least ⅓ the depth of the newborn'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 come 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 thumbs on the newborn's chest in the correct hand position between compressions.
  • Do 30 chest compressions. Push hard and push fast. Do not delay or stop the compressions. Count the compressions out loud to help you do them at a steady, even speed.

How do I open a newborn's airway?

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

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

How do I give rescue breaths?

  • Take a breath and put your lips around the newborn's nose and mouth, making an airtight seal. If your mouth is too small to cover both the newborn's mouth and nose, pinch his or her nose closed. Cover his or her mouth with yours. You may also try giving breaths through the newborn's nose only while you hold his or her mouth closed.

  • Give 2 breaths (1 second for each breath) into the newborn. Do not give large breaths. Do not breathe hard or fast. Take a normal breath for yourself after each breath that you give.
  • The newborn's chest will rise each time you give a rescue breath if his or her airway is open. You may need to change his or her head position to reopen the 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.

What can I do to help prevent respiratory and cardiac arrest in newborns?

  • Do not leave a newborn alone in or near water, such as a pool or bathtub.
  • Keep a newborn secured in a car safety seat. Never leave a newborn in a car alone.
  • Lay a newborn on his or her back to sleep. A newborn may be at more risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) if he or she sleeps on his or her stomach.
    Back to Sleep
  • Do not smoke near a newborn.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your baby's care. Learn about your baby's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your baby's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your baby. 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.

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