Infant CPR and Choking First Aid Guideline


We always hope that our infants will grow healthy and out of possible life-threatening situations. However, babies tend to have more breathing problems than heartbeat complications. That is why getting knowledge of how to perform an infant CPR is crucial when giving an ultimate solution on how to stop a baby from choking.

Upon the detection of breathing difficulties, begin the CPR immediately and do five sets before calling for more help. In a bid to shed light on what you need to do, the following information gives details about:

  • 0-12 Months old infant CPR
  • Infant choking first aid

For more information about care and protection when providing CPR on a child or infant, visit the Red Cross infant CPR section for recommended kits and classes.

0-12 Months Old Infant CPR

There is a similarity in CPR done for infants and older children but as you read on, you will see the difference. An unresponsive infant is considered unconscious hence the need for an immediate CPR. Before you continue reading, here is an infant CPR video that has all the visuals you need to get a better grasp.

General rules when providing CPR on a child or infant

  • Make sure the place or location of the baby is safe.
  • Tap or call him or her to see if they respond.
  • Shout for help. If someone is around, instruct them to call 911 and go for an AED.
  • Check the breathing status.
  • If there is no response from the kid and he or she is gasping, give five sets of compressions and breaths in the ratio of 30:2.
  • If there is no one there to access the phone, proceed to call 911.
  • Continue performing the CPR compressions and breaths.

NB: Even if you are aware of what to do to an unconscious baby, it is crucial that you attend to infant CPR classes which are authorized by the infant CPR American heart association. Why? Because you get a chance to see the methods performed by a trained instructor will real-time feedback.

Performing compressions

An infant receiving CPR should have hard and fast pushes just like the child. The procedure involves the following:

  • Place the infant on a firm and hard surface and have him or her lie using the back.
  • Get rid of any clothing out of the chest area.
  • Put your hand on the chest using two fingers. Position them on the breastbone below the nipple.
  • Start to push vertically about 4cm deep at the rate of 100-120 beats per minute.
  • After each compression, let the chest rise to its usual position.

The above procedure is meant for 1 rescuer infant CPR. The compressions should be correct as per the instructions but be aware that it is a tiring process.

For a 2 rescuer infant CPR:

If you are two or more rescuers, the encircling technique is most appropriate. The procedure involves the following:

  • Place your thumbs flat, adjacent to each other on the lower sternum area. The tips of both thumbs should face the baby’s head.
  • Spread the rest of the fingers and keep them together to enfold the lower ribcage. The fingertips should support the back.
  • Use the two thumbs to push downwards, a third of the baby’s chest depth which is about 4cm deep.
  • After 15 compressions and two breaths, let your partner do the same.

Issuing breaths

The reason why your infant will need a breath during CPR just like the children is due to respiratory problems that need opening up. Giving a good breath makes the chest rise. The procedure to give the kiss of life involves the following:

  • Place one of your hands on his or her forehead.
  • Use fingers from the other hand to touch and hold the chin’s bone part.
  • As you lift the chin, tilt the head backward

NB: Don’t move the head far back to prevent blocking the airway. When holding the bony

0-12 Months Old Infant CPR

chin part, press the bone and not the lower part since it could also block the airway.

  • After accessing the airway, be ready to give some breaths. Hold the mouth open by keeping the head tilted and the chin up with your fingers.
  • Breathe in deeply then proceed to cover the baby’s mouth with yours and the nose too.
  • Give the breath for one second and see if the chest is rising. You only need a little force here. Too much will damage the lungs since they only need a tiny puff.
  • Go ahead and give the second breath.
  • If you can’t cover the mouth and nose using your mouth, just lift the head as the instructions above and go to the next step.
  • Pinch the nose to close it. Seal his or her lips with yours and give the first breath. If the chest does not rise, move the head back to its usual position then tilt it again and lift the chin. Give the breath again and watch to see if the chest rises. After giving the compressions, wait for 10 seconds before the breaths.

Using a mask

Using the general way of giving CPR breaths is considered safe. On the other hand, if there is a mask, go ahead and use it to issue the breaths. They tend to fit in the mouth and nose area. Most of them have a pointed end that goes over the nose bridge of the infant. However, you need to make sure that it fits correctly since a larger one may not deliver the breaths properly.

How to use the mask:

  • Put the mask on the baby’s face, over the mouth and nose.
  • Tilt the head and lift the chin to open the airway.
  • Makes sure the mask is sealing the mouth and nose well.
  • Give two breaths, in a period of one second per breath and check for a rising chest.

When to contact emergency help

First things first, make sure the child is in a safe position and you are also safe. Next, call the infant to see if they respond or not. If they don’t, then yell and call for help. Two is better than one so if there is someone around, let him or her help in calling for assistance. Before going ahead to dial 911, perform at least five CPR cycles.

Infant Choking First Aid

When food or a foreign object gets stuck in the baby’s throat, it forces them to choke since it is blocking the airway. Infants tend to do it all the time which increases their chances of choking. When the situation escalates to dangerous levels, you need to perform a quick action. Before we look at how to stop a baby from choking, let us look at how you can determine if the choking is severe or slight.

Slight choking

  • The infant might be breathing but with a wheezing sound.
  • While coughing, they will be making noise.

At this point, stay with the baby to make sure he or she comes down.

Severe choking

  • The infant is weak and unable to cough.
  • No noise or sounds to suggest something is wrong.
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Cyanosis – discoloring of the skin which turns it blue. You will see it around the fingertips and lips.

What to do if an infant is choking

Generally, you will be involved in back slaps and chest thrusts every time the baby is choking. Here is a summarized procedure on what to do:

Infant Choking First Aid
  • Put the baby on your lap
  • Place the infant in such a way that the head is facing down and at a lower position than the chest. Put your forearm on the thigh so that the baby can rest on it too.
  • As you support with the hand, make sure the head is a position that does not pressure infant’s throat.
  • Slap the baby’s back five times using your hand’s heel.
  • Using your hands and arms, turn the baby so that he or she can face up. Change to your other arm and rest it on the thighs.
  • Place two fingers on the CPR spot and give five chest thrusts.
  • If the object is not yet out, return the baby face down and repeat the process of back blows.
  • Keep doing it until the baby breaths normally or still unresponsive.

Important notice when stopping a baby from choking

Always make sure the head is lower than the body when doing the back blows and chest thrusts. When you open the infant’s mouth and see the foreign object, then see if it can be easily removed. However, avoid a blind sweep to avoid further pushing of the object. Upon a successful removal, see if normal breathing resumes.

If there is no response from the kid, continue to give CPR until more help arrives. You know that the child is not responding if they stop moving about in your arms. In such a situation, breaths and chest compressions become necessary.


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