The Importance of Knowing Infant and Child CPR

importance of knowing infant & child cpr

For new parents, it can be a moment of joy to have their first child. But at the same time, it also comes with a lot of worries and concerns about your child’s wellbeing. According to research, one of the main concerns among parents is confronting a scenario where they might need to implement infant or child CPR. So if you also feel overwhelmed, let’s dig deeper into the importance of knowing infant and child CPR. 

It takes two hours of your time to learn the skills that could save your child’s life. After all, newborns don’t exactly come with an instruction manual & you would need to learn about them to be prepared. And one thing that you must know about is infant and child CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

I know it can be scary to even think about performing CPR on your child, let alone someone else’s child. But if done correctly, there’s no doubt that CPR can save a child’s life! From the moment a call is made to emergency services till their arrival, it can take some time. During this time period, performing CPR can restore breathing and circulation in the body.

cpr for children

What is Infant & Child CPR?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation—also known as CPR—is a technique that is applied when the breathing and heartbeat of a person stops. This emergency procedure consists of chest compressions often combined with artificial ventilation in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function.

CPR contains two main steps: (1) Chest Compressions and (2) Rescue Breathing. Chest compressions are provided to keep the blood circulation moving as the heart stops pumping. Similarly, rescue breathing is provided to give oxygen to the lungs as the person can no longer breathe.

In CPR training, an infant is less than 1 year (12 months) old. Similarly, a child is someone who is older than 1 year but has yet to reach puberty.

You may already know about CPR, if you have taken emergency response classes. In fact, it is common to witness the practice of CPR in movies and TV, as well. However, there’s just one problem with that. Infant/child CPR is very different from adult CPR!

One of the key differences between adult and infant/child CPR is the intensity. In adults, both hands are used for chest compression. But the intensity of chest compression is lower in infants and children. Similarly, the rescue breathing duration and frequency are also lower in toddlers and babies.

So if you have yet to learn the technique of CPR in children, then it is high time to join a nearby infant CPR class with a certified instructor.

The best way to learn about infant/child CPR is to find some helpful material online. This can include some helpful websites or even a YouTube tutorial. Once you are acquainted with the technique and the processes involved in it, you can then join a nearby infant-child CPR training class and become certified.


Difference between Infant & Child CPR

Yes, just like there’s a difference between adult and infant/child CPR, there’s also a difference between infant and child CPR!

As mentioned earlier, an infant is less than 1 year old, and a child is someone who is between the ages of 1 year to puberty.

That’s why in children, only one hand is used for chest compression. And for infants, only two fingers are used for chest compression.

For rescue breathing in children, pinch their noses shut and then breathe into their mouths gently. And for infants, you can use your mouth to cover the mouth and nose by creating a seal.


Reasons for CPR Administration on Infants/Children

Adults usually need CPR because of cardiac arrest, usually resulting from a heart attack. But in children and infants, it is usually due to a respiratory issue that can lead to cardiac arrest if not solved quickly.

Some of the reasons why a child/infant’s heart may stop breathing are:

  • Choking
  • Suffocation
  • Smoke Inhalation
  • Obstructive Apnea
  • Drowning
  • Asthma
  • Head Trauma


Why Is It Important To Learn Infant/Child CPR?

There are a lot of scenarios where CPR can save an infant/child’s life. If you think about it, a child is usually more prone to choking and suffocation than an adult.

As parents, we usually don’t even want to think about a scary scenario where the child will stop breathing. But the best practice is to prepare yourself ahead of time rather than trying to avoid thinking about something that can scare you.

For a baby, one of the primary ways to learn is through sensory input. This makes them more prone to placing small objects in their mouth, such as coins, pens, small toys, jewelry pieces, etc.

In fact, even small pieces of food can present a choking hazard for babies. Some of such food items include grapes, hot dogs, nuts and even cheese cubes.

All of these small items pose a choking and suffocation hazard among children. And we all know that despite the best safety precautions and a watchful eye, accidents can still happen. That’s why it is best to learn how you can help a child or an infant from a choking hazard!

On another note, we always recommend parents to acquire a choking rescue device home kit. The LifeVac is a non-powered, non-invasive, single-use only airway clearance device developed for resuscitating a victim with an airway obstruction when current choking protocols have been followed without success.

In short, learning how to perform CPR on infants and children can save lives! And there’s nothing more precious than life itself!


How to Perform Infant/Child CPR

Follow these steps to perform CPR on an infant or a child:


1. Find a Safe Area

Before performing CPR, you need to ensure that the area is safe from traffic or any other hazard.

2. Check if the Child Is Unconscious

Gently flick or tap the foot soles of the baby or gently stimulate the child. While performing this action, also ask them: “Are you alright?” You need to say this loudly!

3 (a). If Child Responds

If the child responds by showing movement or answering, then leave them in the same position if they are not in danger. Call for emergency services immediately while you wait for their arrival. In the meantime, continue to reassess the situation.

3(b). If Child Doesn’t Responds

Turn the child on their back and call for help.


Procedure for CPR in infants (under 1 year old):

  1. Make sure that the neck and the head are in line.
  2. Check and make sure that the head is in a neutral position.
  3. Lift the infant’s chin upwards with your fingertips.
  4. Look for signs of breathing (chest movements or feeling the air on your cheek).
  5. If there are no signs of breathing, take 2 fingers and place them at the center of the infant’s chest.
  6. Now, give 30 chest compressions at the rate of 100 per minute. You only need to push down around 1/3rd thickness of the chest.
  7. Now, tilt the infant’s head backward and cover the mouth & nose with your mouth (try to create a seal).
  8. Give two breaths.
  9. Once the chest rises, take away your mouth to release the air.
  10. Continue giving the chest compressions and rescue breathing until help arrives.


Procedure for CPR in children (above 1-year-old):

  1. Make sure that the neck and the head are in line.
  2. Check and make sure that the head is in a neutral position.
  3. Lift the child’s chin upwards with your fingertips.
  4. Look for signs of breathing (chest movements or feeling the air on your cheek).
  5. If there are no signs of breathing, place 1 hand at the center of the child’s chest (just below the nipples).
  6. Now, give 30 chest compressions (each compression should be fast and hard).
  7. Pinch the child’s nose and then cover their mouth with your mouth.
  8. Now give 2 breaths (wait for the chest to rise and then release).
  9. Continue the CPR (chest compressions + rescue breathing) until help arrives or the child starts breathing.


Alternatively, you can also watch child/infant tutorials on YouTube to get visual representation of this whole process.

For more information, please visit Sparkles! Early Learning Academy.

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