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Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for Infants

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:


Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for Infants

(Lay Rescuer CPR for Infants)


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a series of steps to help a person whose breathing or heart has stopped. CPR helps pump blood to the body when the heart cannot do so. Infant CPR is used in babies less than 12 months of age.

Infant Heart and Lung System.

Infant CPR can keep blood flowing to vital organs until professional help arrives.

Infant cardiopulmonary systemhttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=69506950baby_CPR2.JPGInfant cardiopulmonary systemNULLjpgInfant cardiopulmonary systemNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\baby_CPR2.JPGNULL67NULL2008-02-223913176950_197841Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Reasons for Procedure

CPR is given when an infant has stopped breathing. This may happen due to:

The outcome varies. It depends on the cause and how soon CPR was started. After the heart has stopped, a normal heartbeat may not come back.

Possible Complications

It is possible that ribs will fracture or break during chest pushes (compressions).

There is more risk of problems if CPR is not done correctly or right away.

What to Do

Call for Help

If an infant is not breathing or responding:

  • If someone is with you—have them call for medical help right away
  • If you are alone—do CPR for 2 minutes before calling for medical help




  • Child and baby CPR. American Red Cross website. Available at: https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr/performing-cpr/child-baby-cpr.
  • Part 5: neonatal resuscitation. 2020 American Heart Association guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care. American Heart Association website. Available at: https://cpr.heart.org/en/resuscitation-science/cpr-and-ecc-guidelines/neonatal-resuscitation.
  • Pediatric basic life support. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/pediatric-basic-life-support-bls.
  • Topjian A, Raymond T, et al. Pediatric basic and advanced life support: 2020 American Heart Association guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care. Circulation. 2020;142, (16) suppl_2: S469–S523.


  • Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.