Babies are fragile little things in many ways, and as parents, we want to be able to protect them as much as we can, and be prepared for anything.
That’s why you absolutely must know how to do infant CPR.
You may be familiar with CPR, but that doesn’t mean you know anything about infant CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation). Babies are small, and their bones and bodies are much fragile than adults and older children, which means the way that we do CPR on them will differ.
This article aims to give you an idea about how you can do infant CPR, in case of an emergency. However, we recommend attending one of the St. John Ambulance’s First Aid courses if you want to receive full training.
How To Perform CPR On A Baby
CPR is only performed on babies who are not breathing. If your baby is unconscious but still breathing, you don’t need CPR, but you do need to put them in the recovery position and monitor their breathing. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.
1. Ambulance First
If you’re facing a baby that isn’t breathing, the very first thing that you need to do is call Triple Zero (000) and request an ambulance. Make sure you do not hang up the phone. You can keep them on speaker while you start CPR.
To start CPR, the baby must be on a firm but flat surface. Do not place them on someone’s lap, and do not cradle their head or allow anyone to get in the way. You need to have space in order to properly do CPR and monitor the baby. A tabletop is ok, as is the floor, depending on where you are. Make sure there’s nothing sharp on the surface that will cut the baby.
You start CPR by giving chest compressions. To do this, you’ll need to find the centre of the chest, what we would call the sternum. Put two fingers, your middle and index fingers are best, over the lower part of the sternum and press down. You should be pressing about one-third of the depth of the baby’s chest. Release the press, and repeat again until you have done 30 compressions.
Now that you’ve done your compressions, it’s time to do the breaths. You’ll need to give the baby two breaths, but they have to be lying a certain way for them to be effective. Tilt the baby’s head back, both very gently and very slightly, and then gently lift the baby’s chin. Lifting the chin ensures the tongue is away from the back of the throat. Take a breath and then put your lips over both the nose and mouth of the baby, then blow evenly (but not too forcefully as you may overfill the baby’s lungs) for about one second. The baby’s chest should rise and fall, after which you need to take another breath and repeat.
Doing just 30 compressions and 2 breaths will not be enough to get the baby breathing. You need to continue to do CPR, repeating the compressions and breaths, until the ambulance arrives. Try and remain as calm as you can while you do them, ensuring you do not push too hard or put too much force into your breath.
6. Recovery Position
If the baby begins to breathe again, you need to get them in the recovery position straight away to make sure breathing is as easy as possible for them. Just as with CPR, the recovery position for babies is different. To put a baby in the recovery position, cradle the baby in your arms with the head tilted downwards, below the height of the chest. The baby should be facing you. Holding them like this keeps the airway open, and will stop their tongue, or anything else, getting in the way while they breathe.
CPR Reminder Video
If you’re looking for a way to get the pattern of infant CPR in your head, we recommend this little video from St John Ambulance in the UK.
You can also visit this link for more information.
If you become concerned about any symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention we have some hotlines and suggested websites for further information and advice https://www.stayathomemum.com.au/my-kids/babies/important-hotlines-websites/