Infant CPR and choking: How to handle these emergencies (GIFs)

by Jake Klyn
Aug 19, 2015 at 1:00 a.m. ET
Image: Ted Willis / SheKnows

It's important to know how to perform infant CPR if you're a parent or work with children. In case of an emergency, oxygen stays in the blood for just four minutes, so being able to respond immediately is crucial.

1 /11: Infant CPR step 1: Tap foot

Image: Ted Willis / SheKnows

1/11 :Infant CPR step 1: Tap foot

The first step is to assess the situation. Begin by tapping the bottom of your baby's foot.

2 /11: Step 2: Check for pulse

Image: Ted Willis / SheKnows

2/11 :Step 2: Check for pulse

 If your baby doesn't flinch, check for a pulse by placing two fingers between his biceps and triceps. Go to the next step to begin CPR if you don't feel a pulse. If he flinches and has a pulse but begins to turn color, skip to steps 8, 9 and 10 to take actions against choking.

3 /11: Step 3: Call 911

Image: Ted Willis / SheKnows

3/11 :Step 3: Call 911

 Ask someone to call an ambulance if you suspect your baby is unable to breathe and if people are nearby. If you and your baby are alone, begin the following steps for two minutes, and then call for help. Call an ambulance immediately if you believe your baby is having an allergic reaction.

4 /11: Step 4: Perform 30 chest compressions

Image: Ted Willis / SheKnows

4/11 :Step 4: Perform 30 chest compressions

 The most important step in the process is chest compressions. Begin by finding a hard, flat surface to place your baby on. Then imagine a line between each nipple, and position two fingers just below that line. Push your baby's chest 1 to 1-1/2 inches toward his sternum. (Don't be afraid to push too hard; you can never go too deep.) Perform this step 30 times, holding a steady rate of 100 chest compressions per minute. (Sing the song "Stayin' Alive" to find the correct rate.) If your hand or fingers get tired, switch hands.

5 /11: Step 5: Perform rescue breaths

Image: Ted Willis / SheKnows

5/11 :Step 5: Perform rescue breaths

 If your baby is still unresponsive and you decide to give him rescue breaths, begin by tilting his head back with one hand and lifting his chin with the other to open his airway. A slight tilt is enough to allow airflow. Next, cover both his mouth and nose with your mouth, and slowly breathe into his lungs for one second, pausing after each exhale. You'll be able to see his chest rise. If it does not rise, perform back blows and chest thrusts (see steps 8, 9 and 10).

6 /11: Step 6: Recovery position

Image: Ted Willis / SheKnows

6/11 :Step 6: Recovery position


Hold him in the recovery position as seen here if his pulse returns. Remember to continually check for a pulse until help arrives. Begin the CPR process again if your baby loses his pulse or is still unresponsive. It may be beneficial to cool down your baby if he's hot or to warm him up if he's cold to the touch. Once help arrives, a doctor will need to look your baby over to absolutely make sure he is safe, even if you get him breathing again.


7 /11: How to handle infant choking

Image: Ted Willis / SheKnows

7/11 :How to handle infant choking

 Lay him face up on your forearm, then place your other hand and forearm on his front side. Make sure his head is lower than his feet. Next, use your thumb and fingers to hold his mouth open. Do not cover his mouth or airway. Correct hand placement is important (see image).

8 /11: Infant choking step 1: Back blows

Image: Ted Willis / SheKnows

8/11 :Infant choking step 1: Back blows

 Using your thigh for support, deliver five high-five-like blows with the heel of your hand between your baby's shoulder blades. The less gentle you are, the more effective they will be.

9 /11: Step 2: Turn him over

Image: Ted Willis / SheKnows

9/11 :Step 2: Turn him over

 With the correct hand placement, flip him 180 degrees onto your other forearm while using your index and middle fingers on your other hand to caress his head.

10 /11: Step 3: Chest thrusts

Image: Ted Willis / SheKnows

10/11 :Step 3: Chest thrusts

Chest thrusts are similar to chest compressions. The main difference is to perform this step only five times instead of 30. Use your thigh to support each chest thrust.

11 /11: Step 4: Check airway

Image: Ted Willis / SheKnows

11/11 :Step 4: Check airway

 If your baby goes limp during this process, check his airway for debris, and remove anything in sight. Then begin chest compressions and rescue breaths until help arrives.