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If Your Baby Needed CPR, Would You Know What To Do?

Westchester Health

CPR guidelines from the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross offers the following step-by-step CPR instructions that we think all parents should know. (Although you may have taken a class in child CPR, it’s still a good idea to keep these instructions handy so the information stays fresh in your memory.)

Print out several copies so you can keep them in your car, your desk, your kitchen, your child’s room and with your other first aid supplies. We also suggest that you read over the steps from time to time to keep your skills up-to-date.

Before giving CPR to a baby or child

  1. Check the scene and the child. Make sure the scene is safe, then tap the child on the shoulder and say loudly, “Are you OK?” to ensure that he or she needs help. For infants, brush the bottom of the foot to elicit a response.

  2. Call 911. If the child does not respond, call 911, then administer approximately 2 minutes of care.

  • If you’re alone with the child or infant, administer 2 minutes of care, then call 911.

  • If the child or infant does respond, call 911 to report any life-threatening conditions and obtain consent to give care. Check the child from head to toe and ask questions to find out what happened.

  1. Open the airway. With the child lying on his or her back, tilt the head back slightly and lift the chin.

  2. Check for breathing. Listen carefully, for no more than 10 seconds, for sounds of breathing. (Occasional gasps aren’t breathing.) Infants typically have periodic breathing, so changes in breathing pattern are normal.

  3. Deliver 2 rescue breaths if the child or infant isn’t breathing. With the head tilted back slightly and the chin lifted, pinch the child’s nose shut, make a complete seal by placing your mouth over the child’s mouth and breathe into the child’s mouth twice. For infants, use your mouth to make a complete seal over the infant’s mouth and nose, then blow in for one second to make the chest clearly rise. Then, deliver two rescue breaths.

  4. Begin CPR. If the child or baby is unresponsive to the rescue breaths, begin CPR.

Administering CPR to a baby or child

  1. Kneel beside the baby or child.

  2. Push hard, push fast.

  • For infants, use 2 fingers to deliver 30 quick compressions that are each about 1½ inches deep.

  • For children, place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest, then place the heel of the other hand on top of the first hand, and lace your fingers together. Deliver 30 quick compressions that are each about 2 inches deep.

  1. Give 2 rescue breaths (see above).

  2. Keep going. Continue these baby or child CPR steps until:

  • you see obvious signs of life, such as breathing

  • an AED (automated external defibrillator) is ready to use

  • another trained responder or EMS professional can take over

  • you’re too exhausted to continue

  • the scene becomes unsafe


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