Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for Infants
(Lay Rescuer CPR for Infants)
by Diana Kohnle
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a series of steps to help a person who is not responding and has stopped breathing. CPR helps deliver oxygen rich blood to the body tissue when the body is not able to do this on its own. Infant CPR should be used in babies less than 12 months of age.
Reasons for Procedure
CPR is given when an infant has stopped breathing. Reasons for this may include:
The outcome will depend on the cause and how soon effective CPR was started. Many victims are unable to regain a normal heartbeat after it has stopped.
Possible Complications TOP
It is possible that ribs will fracture or break during chest compressions.
Greater risk is involved if CPR is delayed or not done correctly.
What to Do TOP
Prior to Procedure
Check for responsiveness. Tap the infant and ask loudly "Are you okay?" Call the infant's name if you know it. If the infant is unresponsive, follow these steps:
How Long Will It Take?
The length of time for CPR depends on the underlying causes and response time of medical help.
Will It Hurt the Infant?
The victim is unconscious when CPR is given. The procedure does not hurt. There may be some soreness in the chest after regaining consciousness.
The emergency team will take over care when they arrive.
The victim will need to be taken to the hospital for evaluation following CPR.
Call for Help TOP
If an infant is unresponsive and someone is with you, have them call for medical help right away. If you are alone, do CPR for about two minutes before calling for medical help.
Caring for Kids
American Heart Association. 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science: Part 1 executive summary. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/122/18_suppl_3/S640. Accessed November 16, 2012.
American Heart Association. Heartsaver First Aid with CPR and AED . Dallas, TX: American Heart Association; 2006
Berg MD, Schexnayder SM, et al. Part 13: Pediatric basic life support: 2010 American Heart Association guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care. Circulation. 2010; 122: S862-S875
Finer NN, Horbar JD, et al. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the very low birth weight infant: the Vermont Oxford Network Experience. Pediatrics. 1999;104(3):428-434.
Otero L. What's new in neonatal resuscitation. Duval County Medical Society website. Available at
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Published December 2001. Accessed November 16, 2012.
Topjian AA, Berg RA, et al. Pediatric cardiopulmonary resuscitation: advances in science, techniques, and outcomes. Pediatrics. 2008 Nov;122(5):1086-98. Review.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
Last Updated: 3/15/2013