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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 TOP
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 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 to check for responsiveness. 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? TOP
The infant is unconscious when CPR is given. The procedure does not hurt. There may be some soreness in the chest after regaining consciousness.
Post-procedure Care TOP
The emergency team will take over care when they arrive.
The infant 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 emergency medical services right away. If you are alone, do CPR for about 2 minutes before calling for medical help.
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
2005 American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and emergency cardiovascular care (ECC) of pediatric and neonatal patients: pediatric basic life support. Pediatrics. 2006;117(5):e989-e1004.
2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Circulation. 2010;122(18 Suppl 3):S640-S656. Available at:
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Bardy, G.H. A critic's assessment of our approach to cardiac arrest. New Engl J of Med. 2011;364(4):374-375.
Heartsaver pediatric first aid CPR AED. American Heart Association website. Available at:
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Accessed December 20, 2017.
Topjian AA, Berg RA, Nadkarni VM. Pediatric cardiopulmonary resuscitation: advances in science, techniques, and outcomes. Pediatrics. 2008;122(5):1086-1098.
Last reviewed December 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 12/20/2014
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