CPR - infant

  • Definition

    CPR is a lifesaving procedure that is performed when an infant's breathing or heartbeat has stopped, as in cases of drowning, suffocation, choking, or injuries. CPR is a combination of:

    • Rescue breathing, which provides oxygen to the infant's lungs.
    • Chest compressions, which keep the infant's blood circulating.

    Permanent brain damage or death can occur within minutes if an infant's blood flow stops. Therefore, you must continue these procedures until the infant's heartbeat and breathing return, or trained medical help arrives.

    Alternative Names

    Rescue breathing and chest compressions - infant; Resuscitation - cardiopulmonary - infant; Cardiopulmonary resuscitation - infant


    CPR can be lifesaving, but it is best performed by those who have been trained in an accredited CPR course. The procedures described here are not a substitute for CPR training.

    All parents and those who take care of children should learn infant and child CPR if they haven't already. This jewel of knowledge is something no parent should be without. (See www.americanheart.org for classes near you.)

    Time is very important when dealing with an unconscious infant who is not breathing. Permanent brain damage begins after only 4 minutes without oxygen, and death can occur as soon as 4 - 6 minutes later.


    In infants, major reasons that heartbeat and breathing stop include:

    • Choking
    • Drowning
    • Electrical shock
    • Excessive bleeding
    • Head trauma or serious injury
    • Lung disease
    • Poisoning
    • Suffocation