Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a series of steps to help a person who has stopped breathing and has no heartbeat. CPR manually delivers oxygen to the lungs and temporarily restores the heartbeat. Infant CPR should be used in babies less than 12 months of age.

Infant Heart and Lung System

Infant cardiopulmonary system
Infant CPR can keep blood flowing to vital organs until professional help arrives.
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Reasons for Procedure

CPR is given when an infant has stopped breathing and has no heartbeat. Reasons for this may include:

The outcome will depend on the initial cause and how soon effective CPR was initiated. Many victims are unable to regain a normal heartbeat after it has stopped.

Possible Complications

In frail infants, it is possible that ribs may fracture or break during chest compressions.

Greater risk is involved if CPR is delayed or not done correctly.

What to Do

Prior to Procedure

Check for unresponsiveness and breathing. If the infant is unresponsive, follow these three steps:

Step 1: Call 911 immediately

  • If someone is with you, have them call 911 immediately.
  • If you are alone, perform CPR for at least 1 to 2 minutes (5 cycles) before dialing 911.

Step 2: Give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation

  • Open the airway by gently tilting the head backward.
  • Cover the infant's nose and mouth with your mouth.
  • Breathe two puffs of air into his mouth, just until you see the chest rise. Breaths should be about one second each.

Step 3: Do chest compressions

  • Place two fingers on the center of the chest just below the nipple line.
  • Compress 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the chest.
  • Allow the chest to rise completely between compressions.
  • Minimize interruption between compressions.
  • After 30 compressions, give two rescue breaths.

If you have not called 911, do so after 1-2 minutes of CPR (about 5 cycles). Call even if the infant has regained consciousness and is breathing on his own.

Continue cycles of 30 compressions and 2 breaths until help arrives or the infant responds.

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.

Post-procedure Care

The emergency team will take over care when they arrive.

The victim will need to be taken to the hospital for evaluation following CPR.