Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving technique that can make a difference between life and death. It is handy in emergency situations where an infant (a child below 1 year) has stopped breathing or has a weak pulse. CPR involves compressions on the chest and rescue breaths to supply oxygen to the lungs. It can help restart the heart and restore normal breathing. In this guide, we will show you how to perform CPR on an infant when the need arises.
The ABCs of CPR on an Infant
CPR on an infant follows a specific protocol. The American Heart Association has revised the process to reflect the latest findings. The first step is to check the baby’s airway, breathing, and circulation, which form the ABCs of CPR.
Step 1: Check the Infant’s Airway
An infant’s airway can be obstructed by foreign objects, which can block the flow of air into the lungs. To check the airway:
- Place the infant on a clean surface or the floor
- Open the airway by tilting their head back slightly
- With your index and middle fingers, lift the chin upward to keep the airway open
- Check for foreign objects or secretions in the mouth and nose, and remove them if clear
Step 2: Check the Infant’s Breathing
After checking the airway, check the baby’s breathing by looking, listening, and feeling for breaths:
- Place your ear close to the baby’s mouth and nose to listen for breath sounds
- Watch for the chest to rise and fall
- Feel for any movement of air on your cheek or hand
If the infant is breathing normally, you should seek medical attention if required. If their breathing is irregular or nonexistent, move to the next step.
Step 3: Check the Infant’s Circulation
If the infant is not breathing, you need to check for a pulse. Place two fingers on the infant’s neck just below the jawline and feel for a pulse for five to ten seconds. If there is no pulse or heartbeat:
- Start CPR immediately
- Call for help or ask someone nearby to make the call
- If you are alone, give two minutes of CPR and then call for help (911 or emergency services)
How to Perform CPR on an Infant
Performing CPR on an infant can be overwhelming, especially if you have never done it before. CPR involves two steps: chest compressions and rescue breaths. The steps are similar to performing CPR on an adult, but there are a few differences you should know.
Step 1: Chest Compressions
Chest compressions involve applying pressure on the infant’s chest to help the heart pump blood. Follow these steps:
- Place the infant on a firm, flat surface, such as a table or the floor
- Place two fingers on the center of the infant’s chest, just below the nipple line
- Compress the chest about 1.5 inches (around 4 cm) deep at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute, like the beat of a song
- Allow the chest to rise back up fully between compressions
- Repeat this process until the infant begins breathing normally, emergency personnel arrives, or you become too tired to continue
Do not stop compressions unless the infant starts to breathe or medical personnel arrives.
Step 2: Rescue Breaths
Rescue breaths involve providing oxygen to the lungs of an infant who is not breathing. Take the following steps:
- Place the infant on their back and tilt their head back slightly
- Using your mouth, seal their mouth and nose, ensuring a tight seal
- Breathe into the infant’s mouth, making sure the chest rises
- Give 2 rescue breaths of 1 second each
You can alternate between rescue breaths and compressions until the infant starts breathing or emergency personnel arrive.
When to Stop CPR on an Infant
CPR can be exhausting, so it is essential to know when to stop. Here are some factors:
- When the infant starts breathing normally and shows signs of circulation, such as a pulse
- When emergency personnel arrive and take over
- When you become too exhausted to continue with the compressions and rescue breaths
It is crucial to keep up with the chest compressions and rescue breaths until you can hand over to emergency personnel or until the baby starts breathing normally. Do not stop compressions unless prompted to do so.
CPR is an essential life-saving technique for infants. It involves checking the airway, breathing, and circulation (ABCs), performing chest compressions, and rescue breaths. If you are not confident, enroll in a CPR course from a reputable provider to learn how to perform CPR on infants and other age groups.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
- Q: What is CPR on an infant?
- A: CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) on an infant is a life-saving technique that involves chest compressions and rescue breaths to restore the breathing and circulation of an infant who has stopped breathing or has a weak pulse.
- Q: When should you perform CPR on an infant?
- A: You should perform CPR on an infant when they have stopped breathing or have a weak pulse, and there are no signs of normal breathing.
- Q: What are the steps involved in CPR on an infant?
- A: The steps involved in CPR on an infant include checking the baby’s airway, breathing, and circulation (ABCs). If the baby is not breathing, chest compressions and rescue breaths should be done until the baby starts breathing or emergency medical staff arrives.
The following references were used in writing this article:
- American Heart Association. (2020, October 6). CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cardiac-arrest/cpr
- Battersby, C., & Santhakumar, A. (2015). Paediatric Basic Life Support. Indian Journal of Anaesthesia, 59(9), 573–579. https://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5049.165875
- Berg, R. A., Lavonas, E. J., & Rinnert, K. J. (2015). Pediatric Basic Life Support: 2015 American Heart Association Guidelines Update for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Pediatrics, 136(5), e1343–e1360. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2015-3373