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How to Perform Infant CPR

Updated on March 9, 2013

Why CPR?

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. CPR is life saving technique that, at least, every parent should know. Emergencies happen when you least expect it and you need to be prepared. CPR is used to make the heart function artificially. It forced to body to circulate blood throughout the body.

CPR class checking for a pulse
CPR class checking for a pulse | Source

When Does a Baby Need CPR

A baby is in need of CPR is he or she has no pulse, is unconscious or is not breathing. To know these things, you need to check your baby's condition as soon as you think something is wrong.

  • Check baby for responsiveness. Flick of tap the bottom on baby's foot to see if he or she responds. Do not shake the baby.
  • Check it baby is breathing. Put you head down by baby's mouth and see if you feel air coming out and hitting your cheek. While you do that, look to see if baby's chest or stomach is moving up and down. These are signs of breathing.
  • Check if baby has a pulse. Use your index and middle finger to feel the inside of your baby's upper arm.

If you find your baby needs CPR, call 911 and begin CPR immediately.

Open the Airway

  • Place baby on a firm, flat surface laying on their back.
  • Place one hand gently on the baby's forehead and two fingers under baby's chin.
  • Gently tilt baby's head back only slightly.


  • Open your mouth wide enough to cover baby's mouth and nose.
  • Form a seal with your lips to baby's face.
  • Give 2 breaths.
  • Each breath should be gentle and about 1 second long.
  • Look for baby's chest to rise with each breath to know they are effective.

Airway Blocked by Foreign Object

If the breaths you are giving do not seem to be making it into baby's lungs, you are either giving too small of breaths of baby has chocked on something and it is blocking his or her airway. Do not ever try to blindly get the object out of baby's mouth or throat. This can lodge the object even deeper into baby's throat. The best thing you can do is take a look into baby's mouth and try to see the object. If you can, use your index finger to sweep across baby's mouth to get the foreign object. If that does not work, you will need to do back slaps to dislodge it.

Choking Baby

Back slaps are the most effective way to dislodge a foreign object from a baby's throat.

To perform back slaps:

  • Support baby's head so that it does not flop as you perform the technique.
  • Place baby on your forearm or legs with his or her head slightly lower that their body.
  • Use the heel of your hand to deliver strong controlled thrusts to the baby's back.
  • These thrusts should be in a downward and forward direction to force the object out.
  • Do the thrusts on baby's back between their should blades
  • Complete 5 at a time and give baby two rescue breaths and check for the object in between

Alternate CPR Compression Technique



There are two different techniques for infant compressions. The two finger method and the thumbs encircling method. In both methods, you will give 30 compressions at a time at a rate of 100 per minute. This is a fairly fast pace and multiple people do them to slow, not to fast. So, make sure you keep the pace up.

Two Finger Method:

  • Baby should be laying flat on a firm surface.
  • Place two fingers in the center of the baby's chest, at a level just below the nipple line.
  • Push down one third of the depth of the baby's chest (typically 1.5 inches)

Thumbs Encircling Method:

  • Baby can be laying down or in your lap.
  • Place both thumbs in the center of the chest a little lower than nipple level.
  • Wrap hands around baby's body
  • Thrust about 1.5 inches deep with your thumbs only

Infant CPR Video


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    • Learning in Life profile image

      Megan Sisko 4 years ago from SW Florida

      I really wish it was mandatory to know if your around babies. The ambulance can only drive so fast...

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      This is so important and a must read for anyone who has a newborn in their life. You did a great job explaining all the steps. I hope this hub comes up if anyone needs to know in a crisis. The steps are easily outlined.