Mastering Infant CPR: A Comprehensive Guide to Saving Infant

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the crucial steps of Infant CPR, empowering you to act swiftly and effectively in a cardiac emergency. Knowing how to perform Infant CPR can make the difference between life and death.

Below is a step by step guide on how to perform CPR on an Infant:


  1. Scene safety: Check the scene for factors that could harm you, such as traffic or fire.
  2. Check for consciousness: Check if the infant is conscious or unconscious by flicking the bottom of the infant's foot to elicit a response.
  3. Call 911: If there is no response from the infant, ask a bystander to call 911. If you are alone, perform 2 minutes of CPR before calling 911 to increase the child's chances of survival.
  4. Check for pulse and breathing: Feel for the pulse by locating the brachial artery inside the upper arm and using two fingers to assess for a pulse for no more than 10 seconds. Simultaneously, observe the infant's breathing.
  5. Start chest compressions: Place two fingers of your one hand in the center of the infant's chest. Gently use your fingers to compress the chest about 1.5 inches deep or 4 centimeters, at 100-120 compressions per minute.
  6. Give rescue breaths: Give two rescue breaths between each series of 30 chest compressions, just as you would with an older person.
  7. Repeat: Repeat the CPR steps by giving 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until the emergency medical services arrive or when the infant shows signs of life, such as normal breathing or chest movement.


Scene safety

Ask how many victims are there and how the accident could have happened. See if other bystanders can assist the victims. It's also important to check the scene for factors that could harm you, such as traffic or fire.


Check for consciousness

When the scene is safe to respond to, check if the infant is conscious or unconscious. Flick the bottom of the infant's foot to elicit a response. This takes the place of tapping the shoulder of an older person. If protective gloves are available, wear them before you check the victim.


Call 911

If there is no response from the infant, ask a bystander to call 911. If you are alone, perform 2 minutes of CPR before calling 911 to increase the child's chances of survival.


Check for pulse and breathing

To check for the pulse and breathing of an infant during CPR, it is important to ensure proper positioning and quickly assess for signs of life. Begin by placing the infant on a firm surface, observing their responsiveness, and looking for chest rise and fall.

Next, gently feel for the pulse by locating the brachial artery inside the upper arm and using two fingers to assess for a pulse for no more than 10 seconds. Simultaneously, observe the infant's chest for signs of normal breathing, such as regular chest rise and fall or air movement against your cheek.


  • If the infant is unconscious but still breathing and has a pulse, do not perform CPR. Instead, put the victim in a recovery position and monitor the breathing. Perform Infant CPR if needed.
  • If the infant has a pulse but no breathing, give rescue breathing only. For infants, the ventilation ratio is 1 breath every 3- 5 seconds.
  • Recheck the breathing and pulse after every 2 minutes. If there is still a pulse but no breathing, continue ventilations. If there is still no breathing and no pulse, begin CPR.

Begin CPR

If the infant has no pulse and no breathing, give CPR starting with 30 chest compressions, followed by 2 rescue breaths. The 2 person infant cpr ratio is 15 compressions to 2 breaths.


How to perform chest compressions on an infant?

To perform CPR on a baby under the age of 1, place two fingers of your one hand in the center of the infant's chest. Gently use your fingers to compress the chest about 1.5 inches deep or 4 centimeters, at 100-120 compressions per minute, just as you would when giving an adult CPR. Allow the chest to fully recoil after each compression.


How to perform rescue breathing on an infant?

If you are comfortable giving rescue breathing to a baby, give two rescue breaths between each series of 30 chest compressions, just as you would with an older person. Create a proper seal by covering the infant's nose and mouth through your mouth. Give a gentle puff of air for 1 second, and watch if the baby's chest rises.

Using a bag-mask device or other barrier devices when giving rescue breaths to children and infants is recommended but not required by the American Heart Association.

Repeat the CPR Cycle

Repeat the CPR steps by giving 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until the emergency medical services arrive or when the infant shows signs of life, such as normal breathing or chest movement.

Blood Pressure Category
Systolic (Upper)
Diastolic (Lower)
Health Risks
Less than 120 mm Hg
and Less than 80 mm Hg
Low risk of heart disease or stroke
Maintain healthy lifestyle (diet, exercise, no smoking)
120-129 mm Hg
and Less than 80 mm Hg
Doubled risk of cardiovascular complications
Make lifestyle changes (lose weight if overweight, increase physical activity, limit alcohol)
Hypertension Stage 1
130-139 mm Hg
or 80-89 mm Hg
Increased risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease
Lifestyle changes and potentially medication under doctor's guidance
Hypertension Stage 2
140 mm Hg or Higher
or 90 mm Hg or Higher
High risk; can lead to heart failure, vision loss, dementia
Medication required in addition to lifestyle changes as recommended by doctor
Hypertensive Crisis
Higher than 180 mm Hg
nd/or Higher than 120 mm Hg
Immediate danger of life-threatening complications
Seek emergency medical care immediately
Cardiac Arrest
Heart Attack
Sudden loss of heart function, leading to collapse
Blockage in a coronary artery, affecting blood flow to the heart muscle
Interruption of blood flow to the brain, leading to brain damage
Main Cause
Electrical malfunction of the heart
Blockage in coronary arteries
Blockage or rupture of blood vessels in the brain
Circulation Affected
Entire body
Heart muscle
Brain tissue
105Sudden collapse, unconsciousness, no pulse
Chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath
Sudden numbness or weakness, confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech/73
Emergency Response
Immediate CPR and defibrillation
Activate emergency medical services, chew aspirin
Activate emergency medical services, FAST assessment (Face, Arms, Speech, Time)
CPR, defibrillation
Thrombolytic therapy, angioplasty, stenting
Thrombolytic therapy, clot retrieval,
Long-term Management
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), medication management
Medication management, lifestyle changes, cardiac rehabilitation
Medication, rehabilitation, lifestyle changes
Dependent on prompt CPR and defibrillation, underlying health conditions
Dependent on extent of heart muscle damage, effectiveness of intervention
Dependent on severity of brain damage, rehabilitation progress
Risk Factors
Previous heart conditions, arrhythmias, electrolyte imbalances
Atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, hypertension, smoking, diabetes
Hypertension, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation

What is Infant CPR?

Infant CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is a life-saving technique performed on infants, typically defined as children under the age of 1. It involves a series of steps designed to restore blood circulation and breathing if an infant's heart and breathing have stopped. The purpose of Infant CPR is to ensure the following:

  • Restore Circulation: During cardiac emergencies such as sudden cardiac arrest, the heart may stop pumping blood effectively. Chest compressions help restore blood circulation by manually compressing the chest and squeezing the heart. This action assists in maintaining vital organ perfusion and oxygen supply.
  • Maintain Oxygenation: The second component of Infant CPR involves providing rescue breaths to maintain oxygenation. This step is crucial as infants often experience breathing difficulties during emergencies. Rescue breaths involve delivering mouth-to-mouth or mouth-to-nose ventilation, supplying oxygen-rich air to the infant's lungs.


Why is Infant CPR important?

Infant CPR is important because it can save the lives of infants experiencing cardiac emergencies. Prompt initiation of CPR helps restore blood circulation and maintain oxygenation, increasing the chances of survival. Infants have unique physiological needs, and their small bodies require immediate intervention. CPR serves as a crucial bridge until professional medical help arrives.

Knowing infant CPR empowers caregivers and parents, enabling them to respond effectively during emergencies. It also prepares individuals to handle common cardiac emergencies such as choking or drowning in infants. By learning infant CPR, parents and childcare providers can make a significant difference in saving lives and reducing the impact of these emergencies.


In what situations is Infant CPR necessary?

While cardiac arrest is relatively rare in infants compared to adults, there are still emergencies where Infant CPR is necessary. Infants can experience other life-threatening situations, such as choking, drowning, or respiratory distress, that require immediate intervention.

  1. Sudden Cardiac Arrest: If an infant's heart suddenly stops beating or beats irregularly, Infant CPR is necessary to restore circulation and maintain oxygen supply until professional medical help arrives.
  2. Choking: When an infant is choking and unable to breathe or cough effectively, CPR may be required to dislodge the obstruction and restore normal breathing.
  3. Near Drowning: If an infant has been submerged in water and is unresponsive or not breathing, Infant CPR is necessary to initiate resuscitation and prevent further complications.
  4. Suffocation: In cases where an infant's airway is blocked due to suffocation, CPR can help clear the airway and restore breathing.
  5. Severe Respiratory Distress: If an infant is experiencing severe breathing difficulties or respiratory distress, Infant CPR may be needed to provide immediate assistance until medical professionals arrive.
  6. Suspected Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): In rare cases where an infant is unresponsive and not breathing, CPR may be necessary while awaiting medical help.

It is important to note that CPR should only be performed if the infant is unresponsive, not breathing normally, or showing no signs of circulation. The decision to administer CPR should be based on proper assessment and training in recognizing the symptoms of a cardiac emergency in infants. Prompt activation of emergency medical services (EMS) is crucial in conjunction with CPR.


How is Infant CPR different from Adult and Child CPR?

Infant CPR differs from CPR for adults and children due to distinct anatomical and physiological differences requiring specific CPR technique adaptations. Infants have smaller bodies, narrower airways, and more flexible chests, necessitating modifications in hand placement, compression depth, and rescue breath delivery.

  • In Infant CPR, compressions are performed using two fingers or the heel of one hand, with a depth of about one-third the chest depth.
  • In Infant CPR, rescue breaths are administered through the mouth and nose to ensure adequate airflow.
  • The compression rate for infants is approximately 100-120 per minute, with two breaths given after every 30 compressions.
  • In Infant CPR, rescuers must apply controlled force to avoid injuring the delicate structures of infants.

Proper training in Infant CPR is crucial to understand these differences and provide effective and safe life-saving interventions tailored to the unique needs of infants during cardiac emergencies.


Newborn CPR Rate

For newborn CPR, which is performed on infants up to the age of 1 month, the recommended rate of chest compressions is slightly different from that of older infants and children. 

To perform CPR on a newborn, place the newborn on a firm surface. Use two fingers to give very gentle chest compressions, pressing down about 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the chest, which is around 1.5 inches (around 4 cm). The rate of compressions for newborns is about 120 compressions per minute.

After 30 compressions, give the newborn two very gentle breaths. Cover the newborn's mouth and nose with your mouth and breathe just enough to make their chest rise. Each breath should last about one second.


Can AED be Used on Infants?

Yes, an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) can be used on infants with some considerations. It is crucial to use pediatric-specific pads or attenuator systems for infants and young children. These smaller pads ensure appropriate energy delivery for their smaller body size.

It's important to refer to the manufacturer's guidelines for the specific AED model being used, as there may be variations in pad placement, settings, and energy levels. The AED will adjust the energy output based on the pediatric pads or attenuator system. However, it is important to note that the need for defibrillation in infants is rare, and immediate CPR and activation of emergency medical services (EMS) should be the primary focus in most cases of cardiac arrest in infants.


What should you do after performing Infant CPR?

After performing CPR on an infant, activate emergency medical services (EMS) if not already done. Continue CPR if the infant remains unresponsive and not breathing normally. Reassess vital signs periodically and adjust CPR efforts as needed. When EMS arrives, follow their instructions and provide relevant information. Seek immediate medical evaluation for the infant, even if signs of recovery are observed, to determine the underlying cause and ensure appropriate medical care.

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Blood Pressure Chart by Age

Age Group
Min Systolic/Diastolic
Normal Range
Max Systolic/Diastolic
1-12 months
Consult pediatrician if outside normal range. Cuff sizing is critical.
1-5 years
High BP in children may indicate underlying condition. Lifestyle factors.
6-13 years
Obesity, family history increase risk. Promote healthy habits early.
14-19 years
Adolescent rise normal. Rule out secondary causes if elevated.
20-24 years
Stressors, medications may impact. Start monitoring if high-normal.
25-29 years
Dietary changes, exercise for elevated readings. Birth control effects.
30-39 years
110/77 - 111/78
122/81 - 123/82
134/85 - 135/86
Monitor closely if readings increasing with age.
40-49 years
112/79 - 115/80
125/83 - 127/84
137/87 - 139/88
Lifestyle changes proven to reduce hypertension risk.
50-64 years
116/81 - 121/83
129/85 - 134/87
142/89 - 147/91
White coat effect common. Home monitoring advised.
65+ years
130+ Systolic Risk
Frailty, medications, conditions factored in management.

Are there special considerations for infants with medical conditions?

Yes, there are special considerations when performing CPR on infants with specific medical conditions. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  1. Known Medical Conditions: If you are aware that the infant has a specific medical condition, such as a heart condition, respiratory disorder, or known allergies, it is important to consider these factors during CPR. Adjustments may be needed in the technique or care provided based on the specific condition.
  2. Congenital Abnormalities: Infants with congenital abnormalities or structural defects may require special attention during CPR. For example, if an infant has a known heart defect, the rescuer may need to adapt the technique and be cautious with chest compressions to avoid excessive pressure on the chest.
  3. Oxygen Dependency: Some infants may require supplemental oxygen due to underlying respiratory conditions or medical interventions. If the infant is dependent on oxygen, it is essential to maintain the oxygen supply during CPR. Special care should be taken to avoid disrupting or disconnecting the oxygen source while providing chest compressions and rescue breaths.
  4. Tracheostomy or Medical Devices: Infants with tracheostomies or other medical devices may have specific considerations during CPR. While working around these devices, rescuers should be familiar with the proper technique for chest compressions and rescue breaths. Care must be taken not to dislodge or damage the devices during CPR.
  5. Allergies and Medications: If an infant has known allergies or is taking specific medications, it is important to provide this information to emergency medical services (EMS) and medical professionals when they arrive. They can assess the situation and provide appropriate care, considering any potential interactions or considerations related to the medical condition and medications.


What are the Risks Associated with Infant CPR?

While Infant CPR is a life-saving technique, there are some potential risks and considerations to be aware of:

  1. Rib Fractures or Injury: The chest compressions performed during Infant CPR can cause rib fractures or other chest injuries. Infants have delicate chest structures, and excessive force or improper technique may lead to these complications. It is important to use controlled force and follow proper hand placement guidelines to minimize the risk of injury.
  2. Airway Obstruction or Aspiration: During rescue breaths, there is a small risk of airway obstruction or the possibility of the infant regurgitating and aspirating stomach contents. Care should be taken to ensure a clear airway and proper head positioning to minimize the risk of these complications.
  3. Ineffective CPR: If CPR is not performed correctly or promptly, it may not be effective in restoring circulation and maintaining oxygenation. This can result in poor outcomes for the infant. Proper training and certification in Infant CPR are essential to ensure effective administration.
  4. Emotional and Psychological Impact: Performing CPR on an infant can be emotionally distressing for caregivers, parents, and bystanders. Witnessing a cardiac emergency and being involved in life-saving efforts can have a profound emotional impact. Acknowledging and addressing the potential emotional stress and seeking support when needed is important.
  5. Transmission of Infections: There is a risk of transmitting infections during CPR, especially if proper infection control measures are not followed. CPR masks, barrier devices, or other protective equipment help reduce the risk of infection transmission. Ensuring proper hygiene and following recommended guidelines for infection control is crucial.


While these risks exist, it is important to remember that the potential benefits of performing Infant CPR far outweigh the risks. Prompt and effective CPR can significantly increase the chances of survival for infants experiencing cardiac emergencies. Proper training, adherence to guidelines, and seeking medical assistance are key to minimizing risks and providing the best possible care to infants in need.


What are the Legal Implications of Performing Infant CPR?

The legal implications of performing Infant CPR can be influenced by jurisdiction and circumstances. Good Samaritan laws exist in many jurisdictions to protect individuals who provide emergency medical care in good faith. These laws encourage people to assist without fear of legal repercussions. Adhering to recognized CPR guidelines and the standard of care is crucial.

Good Samaritan laws generally provide immunity from civil liability unless there is gross negligence or actions beyond reasonable assistance. Consent is usually assumed in life-threatening situations, but parental objection should be respected. Knowing the specific laws in your jurisdiction and seeking legal advice if needed is important.


From where can I learn the proper technique for Infant CPR?

To learn the proper technique for Infant CPR, there are several reliable sources where you can acquire the necessary knowledge and skills. Here are a few options:

  1. Certified CPR Training Courses: Organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA), the American Red Cross, or other local healthcare providers offer certified CPR training courses. These courses provide hands-on practice, demonstrations, and instruction from trained professionals. They cover the proper technique for Infant CPR, including chest compressions, rescue breaths, and other essential aspects of infant resuscitation.
  2. Online CPR Training Programs: Many reputable organizations offer online CPR training programs, including specific modules dedicated to Infant CPR. These programs often include instructional videos, interactive modules, and written material to guide you through the proper technique. However, ensuring that the online program is from a trusted and recognized source is important.
  3. Local Healthcare Providers: Hospitals, community centers, and healthcare facilities may offer CPR training classes, including infant cpr class. Inquire with local healthcare providers or community organizations to find out if they provide training sessions or can direct you to a reliable source.

When selecting a training program, ensure that it covers Infant CPR Certification specifically, as infant techniques differ from those used for adults and children. Choosing a course that provides hands-on practice with infant manikins is recommended to develop the necessary skills and confidence in performing Infant CPR correctly.


Updating CPR Knowledge

Updating Infant CPR knowledge is important because guidelines and techniques can change over time based on new research. Staying up-to-date helps you learn the most effective ways to save lives. BLS certification update shows that you're still skilled in CPR, which reassures others. Keeping current with research means using the latest information to improve outcomes. By updating your CPR knowledge, you can provide better care and increase the chances of successful resuscitation during emergencies.