Every Mom Should Learn CPR

You're proficient at changing diapers, soothing colic and breastfeeding your baby, but what do you know about infant first aid? The human brain can survive without oxygen for four minutes without suffering permanent damage, but a typical EMS response can take anywhere from 6-10 minutes. In those critical moments, knowing how to perform infant CPR may make all the difference for your baby. Almost anyone can learn infant CPR, a simple but life-saving technique.

Infant CPR is the form of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) administered to victims under the age of one year. If you are alone with your infant, don't stop to dial 911 until you've first tried to resuscitate the baby, since immediate CPR increases his chances of survival.

Learn Your ABCs

The steps of CPR are remembered as ABC:


If you suspect your baby is in trouble, check his responses by patting his feet and giving gentle taps to his chest and shoulders. If he doesn't react, for instance by moving around or crying, check his airway. It is normal for a baby to take shallow, rapid breaths, so you will need to look, listen, and feel for his breathing. If you can't detect any sign of breathing, his tongue may be obstructing his airway.

Tile the baby's head back, but not too far, since his airway is very narrow and overextension of his neck may close off his air passage.


Place your mouth over your baby's mouth and nose so as to create a seal. Give a quick and gentle puff from your cheeks. Let him exhale on his own. Watch his chest as you listen and feel for breathing. If he doesn't breathe on his own, give him another little puff.


If your baby still doesn't cry, move, or otherwise respond, check his circulation. You can find his pulse in the brachial artery, located inside the upper arm, between the elbow and shoulder. Place two fingers on the brachial artery and apply slight pressure for 3-5 seconds. If you still can't find a pulse, the baby's heart is not beating and you will need to perform chest compressions.

Gentle Compressions

An infant's ribcage is delicate and susceptible to damage, so use caution during chest compressions. Place three fingers in the center of your baby's chest. The top finger rests on an imaginary line between the baby's nipples. Raise your top finger and compress with the bottom two fingers. The depth of the compression is about half an inch deep. To remember this, think of the two fingers as half your hand: 1/2 hand-1/2 inch.

Count five compressions and follow up with one breath.

Repeat the cycle of one breath and five compressions 20 times before checking your baby's breathing and pulse. If there is no pulse, continue to administer 5 compressions and one breath until an ambulance arrives. If the baby regains a pulse but still can't breathe on his own, give him one rescue breath every three seconds.