Learning how to administer CPR to a baby at a St John Ambulance Cymru first aid training course

CPR for infants

An infant is defined as being aged 0 to 1 year old when it comes to first aid. There are a few differences in CPR when it comes to children and babies. Here is what you will need to do in the case of an infant not breathing. We also have advice on how to perform CPR on an adult or child.


What to do

Follow the steps below:

Step 1  

If you find a child collapsed, you should first perform a  primary survey.  Do not open their airway and do not place your face close to theirs to check for breathing

If this shows that they are unresponsive and not breathing, shout for help. Ask a helper to call 999 or 112 for emergency help while you start CPR. Ask a helper to find and bring a defibrillator, if available. 

  • Ask your helper to put the phone on speaker and hold it out towards you, so they can maintain a 2m distance 
  • If you are on your own, use the hands-free speaker on a phone so you can start CPR while speaking to ambulance control 
  • Do not leave the casualty to look for a defibrillator yourself, the ambulance will bring one. 
  • You cannot use an AED on a child under the age of one.
  • You should ideally use child pads but if these aren't available, adult pads can be used.
    Place one pad in the middle of the chest and the other on the back between the shoulder blades.
Step 2  

With children and infants the cause behind their collapse is more likely due to an issue with breathing and therefore the first part of CPR in children is starting with rescue breaths. If you have been trained, are willing and able to give rescue breaths use the guidance below to help you give rescue breaths:  

It is easiest to deliver CPR on an infant by holding them in your arm. Have the baby’s head resting in the crook of your elbow.

Tilt their head back in a slight sniffing position. To deliver the rescue breath you will need to cover both their nose and mouth creating a seal.

Blow into their mouth very gently for one second, until the chest rises.

Remove your mouth and watch the chest fall – this is one rescue breath, you will need to do this five times.

Step 3 

To deliver chest compressions in an infant place two fingers in the middle of their chest.

Press down a third of the infant’s chest depth before releasing the pressure, allowing the chest to come back up.

  • Repeat this 30 times at a rate of 100-120 per minute 
  • The beat of the song 'Staying Alive' can help you keep the right rate 
Step 4  

After the 30 compressions you will need to give 2 more rescue breaths using the same technique used for the initial 5 rescue breaths. 

Then alternate between 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths. 

Continue to perform CPR until:   

  • emergency help arrives and takes over 
  • the person starts showing signs of life and starts to breathe normally 
  • you are too exhausted to continue - if there is a helper, you can change over every one-to-two minutes with minimal interruptions to chest compressions 
  • a defibrillator is ready to be used. 

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