Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for Infants
(Lay Rescuer CPR for Infants)
by Amy Scholten, MPH
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a series of steps to help a person whose breathing or heart has stopped. CPR helps pump blood to the body when the heart cannot do so. Infant CPR is used in babies less than 12 months of age.
Reasons for Procedure
CPR is given when an infant has stopped breathing. This may happen due to:
The outcome varies. It depends on the cause and how soon CPR was started. After the heart has stopped, a normal heartbeat may not come back.
It is possible that ribs will fracture or break during chest pushes (compressions).
There is more risk of problems if CPR is not done correctly or right away.
What to Do
Prior to Procedure
Check for safety at the scene. Tap the infant and call the infant's name. If the infant does not respond or breathe normally, follow these steps:
How Long Will It Take?
The length of time for CPR varies. It depends on the cause and how fast medical help arrives.
Will It Hurt the Infant?
The infant is unconscious when CPR is given. CPR does not hurt. The infant may have some chest soreness after waking up.
The emergency team will help the infant when they arrive.
After CPR, the infant will need to go to the hospital to be checked.
Call for Help
If an infant is not breathing or responding:
American Heart Association
American Red Cross
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Child and baby CPR. American Red Cross website. Available at: https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr/performing-cpr/child-baby-cpr. Accessed September 28, 2021.
Part 5: neonatal resuscitation. 2020 American Heart Association guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care. American Heart Association website. Available at: https://cpr.heart.org/en/resuscitation-science/cpr-and-ecc-guidelines/neonatal-resuscitation. Accessed September 28, 2021.
Pediatric basic life support. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/pediatric-basic-life-support-bls. Accessed September 28, 2021.
Topjian A, Raymond T, et al. Pediatric basic and advanced life support: 2020 American Heart Association guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care. Circulation. 2020;142, (16) suppl_2: S469–S523.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 9/28/2021
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