While CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) must be administered by an individual trained in a certified first aid course, bystanders can make a significant difference in the survival of a child in cardiac arrest. Follow these steps, updated to reflect the 2010 American Health Association guidelines, to learn how to perform CPR on children. For children over one year of age, follow the CPR protocol for children and for adults follow the adult protocol.
Method 1 of 2: Diagnose the situation
Step 1. Check if the baby is unconscious
The best is to rub your fingers against his feet. If the baby is completely unresponsive and someone is nearby, ask them to call 911 while you jump to the next step. If you are alone with the baby, follow the steps below for two minutes (to provide immediate first aid) before calling 911.
Step 2. If the baby is unconscious but choking, administer first aid before performing CPR
Whether the baby breathes or not should determine your procedure:
If your baby coughs or gags when choking, let him continue to cough and gag. Coughing and gagging, a good sign, means that your airways are only partially blocked.
If your baby is not coughing, you will need to pat them on the back or press their chest to remove what is blocking the airway.
Step 3. Check the baby's pulse
Check again for breathing, and this time place your index and middle fingers on the inside of the baby's arm, between the elbow and the shoulder.
If the baby has a pulse and is breathing, put him in a recovery body position. Review this guide for detailed information.
If there is no pulse or breathing, continue with the next steps to perform CPR, which is a combination of compression and breathing.
Method 2 of 2: Perform CPR
Step 1. Open the airway
Raise baby's head back and chin up gently to open baby's airway. The airways are small, so it won't be a drastic movement. Check again to see if he is breathing at this point, but not for more than ten seconds.
Step 2. Give the baby two rescue breaths
If you have it, put a face shield on the baby to prevent the exchange of body fluids. Pinch your nose, tilt your head back, lift your chin, and give it two breaths of about a second. Exhale gently until your chest rises. Exhaling too hard can be harmful.
- Remember to pause between breaths to let the air out.
- If you feel that the breaths did not go in because the chest did not rise at all, the airway is blocked and the baby could be suffocating. Review this guide for more information on how to help a choking infant.
Step 3. Check that the baby has a brachial pulse after giving two rescue breaths
If there is no pulse, begin CPR on the baby.
Step 4. Compress the chest thirty times with several fingers
Bring two or three fingers together and place them in the middle of the baby's chest, just below the nipples. Gently compress the baby's chest fluidly thirty times.
- If you need support because your fingers get tired, use your other hand to assist in the process. If not, hold the baby's head in your other hand.
- Aim to give chest compressions at a rate of 100 per minute. It may sound like a lot, but it's actually only slightly faster than one compression per second. However, try to maintain smooth compressions and decompressions.
- Press 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the baby's chest. Usually this equates to 4 centimeters.
Step 5. Perform the same series of two rescue breaths and thirty chest compressions until you are relieved or see signs of life
At the proper rate, you should perform about five sets of rescue breaths and compressions in about two minutes. Once you start CPR, don't stop unless the following happens:
You are signs of life (baby moves, coughs, obviously breathes or articulates). Vomiting is not a sign of life.
Another trained person replaces you.
There is a defibrillator ready to use.
The situation suddenly becomes unsafe.
Step 6. To remember the steps of CPR, remember ABC
Keep this mnemonic in mind as a reminder of the CPR administration process.
A comes from air.
Open or check that the airways are open.
B comes in a puff.
Pinch your nose, tilt your head back, and deliver two rescue breaths.
C comes from circulation.
Check that the baby has a pulse. If not, do thirty chest compressions.
- Exhale just enough for your chest to rise. If not, you could puncture the baby's lungs.
- Don't press too hard on the chest, as you could damage the internal organs.