How to give CPR to a baby/infant
Once you've determined that a baby/infant is not breathing normally, and CPR is needed, then how do you go about this?
How to determine that a baby/infant is really not breathing?
We'll go over DR. ABC (Danger, Response, Airway, Breathing, Circulation) in another 'How to ... Guide', so we're assuming this infant really needs CPR. For First Aid purposes, an infant is 0 - 1 years old.
Difference between adult and child/infant CPR
There are differences between giving CPR to an adult and an infant. First of all, there is a difference between the reason WHY their hearts have stopped. Usually, if an adult goes into cardiac arrest, this is caused by a failure of the heart. Which means there is still oxygen within their blood stream, and once we give CPR, that oxygen will be transported throughout the body, to the cells.
Give five (5) rescue breaths first
However, an infant or a child's heart usually stops because there's been an issue with their breathing. This means that their little body is already short of oxygen, so their cells are desperate for it.
This is why we give infants and children five (5) rescue breaths first, before commencing CPR.
Head tilt and chin lift
First, though, you need to ensure that the infant's airway is open. To do this, put one hand on his or her forehead. Then put the index finger of the other hand under his or her chin (on the bony part, we don't want to throttle the little one!). Then, very gently, tilt the infant's head up.
This moves the infant's tongue away from the back of the throat, where it could be blocking the airway.
Open your own mouth wide, and put it over the infant's mouth and nose. Breathe gently into the infant's mouth and nose. Make sure you maintain the head tilt and chin lift while you are doing this, so the tongue doesn't stop the air from going into the lungs.
Give the infant 5 gentle breaths, and watch his/her chest rise.
Next, we need to give 30 chest compressions. Place your index finger and your middle finger together in the centre of the infant's chest, and press down hard. You need to go a third of the depth of the chest, which will be about 4 cm or 1.5 inches. Repeat this 30 times, at a speed of about 100 - 120 per minute.
One easy way of getting the right speed is to count the seconds, saying 'one hundred' press down 'and one' press down, 'one hundred' press down 'and two' press down, 'one hundred' press down 'and three' press down, and so forth, till you get to one hundred and fifteen.
Full CPR - Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation
Having given 30 chest compressions, now give the little one two (2) rescue breaths. Then continue giving 30 chest compressions and 2 breaths, till medical help arrives and tells you to stop.
Watch the short videos below to see some of our learners practicing their new skills in infant CPR.
Give 1 minute of CPR if on your own
If you're on your own, give the infant one minute of CPR before going for help. That is about 3 cycles of 30 compressions to 2 rescue breaths (after having given those 5 initial ones). Unlike for an adult, where getting help and an AED as soon as possible are absolutely vital, and we have to call 999 or 112 before we start CPR.