Infant CPR: Good Parents Know It! CPR, the anagram for cardiopulmonary resuscitation is the process of saving someone's life in the case that they have stopped breathing or they have no heartbeat. The need for CPR would be necessary in the event that someone was drowning, or choking, or other injuries that kept them from manually breathing on their own. Infant CPR involves two basic steps, the rescue breathing which provides the injured with oxygen to their lungs and chest compressions which pump the heart and keep the blood flowing. Blood circulation is extremely important to all vital organs especially the brain. Only minutes without blood to the brain and you can sustain permanent brain damage. Most of the time we refer to CPR we think of adults or small children but there is a technique that is specific for infants that is a slight variation of the process for adults. Face it, regardless of how careful you are with your baby emergencies can happen. A baby could easily choke on anything they find while playing or get themselves smothered or wrapped up in a curtain cord. The best way to learn how to properly give CPR to your baby is to take a certified course that teaches both the heimlich and CPR for infants. These classes teach the proper technique and give you some experience practicing the techniques so that heaven forbid a situation does arise that CPR is required you can remain under control and handle the situation with confidence. A good reference to find an infant CPR class is the American Red Cross class locator. The steps to giving an infant CPR are only slightly different than giving CPR to an adult or adolescent child. First and foremost you need to see if the baby is responding. This can be done by tapping the soles of his/her feet or calling their name several times. If in fact your baby has stopped breathing you need to check the mouth carefully to make sure that there is not an object obstructing the baby's airway. If no object is found in the mouth then you need to begin the CPR. Immediately have someone your with call 911. Next you need to lay your baby down on a flat surface facing up at you. Make sure that you put the baby on something firm not soft so you give good chest compressions. Then you need to tilt your baby's head back by pushing gently on her forehead and also lift up underneath the chin right where the bone of her bottom jaw is Now you need to take a few seconds and physically put your ear to your babies mouth and nose and listen and feel for breathing. Look down at your baby's chest to see if it is rising and falling as she takes in a breath. If the baby is not breathing then using your mouth, cover the baby's mouth and nose and give two short breaths in one second intervals. In between each breath watch for your baby's chest to rise. The covering of the nose and the mouth is one of the differences in the procedure for adults where just the mouth is covered. Next you need to remove your baby's clothes exposing their upper body and using your index and ring fingers give the baby thirty chest compressions in the same location that you would a small child, in the center of the chest inbetween the babies nipples. Give the compressions at a rate of about two per second. Make sure that you are pressing your baby's chest straight down between one third and one half the depth of their chest. After each compression make sure that you allow the babies chest to return to its
normal position. The use of your two fingers is the other major difference in the process in infants compared to the process in adults which you use the palm of your whole hand. After completing the compressions repeat the cycle of breathing and compressions. Every time you complete a set of breaths and chest compressions that is one full cycle of CPR. Each time you stop to give the baby more breaths check for an object that could be lodged in the airway keeping them from breathing. If you do find an object try to remove it if you can by sweeping your finger across the mouth. If no object keep continuing the CPR. If you happen to be by yourself with no one else to call 911 and no one has made the call give five cycles of CPR then call 911 yourself. Learn more about Where To Get PALS Certification online. The NHCPS agency is here to help you through this process.