Resuscitation of an Infant

The following article walks you through how to resuscitate an infant. If you are familiar with paediatric resuscitation you can use the flow diagram on the right to guide you through the sequence that things need to be done in. Try and refresh your skills once a month so that you will know what to do if the situation arises. Try to attend a practical first aid course if you can.

We will teach a chest compression to breath ratio of 15:2 . This means that after every 15 chest compressions you should give 2 rescue breaths. Lay first-aid courses teach a ratio of 30:2 which is the same as in adults and is taught to avoid confusion. remember that doing something is better than doing nothing.

We suggest that you run through the guidelines below and then watch the video at the bottom of the page.

If you find an infant that doesn’t appear to be breathing, check for responsiveness-if the infant is unresponsive – call for help!

The next step is to determine if the airway is open.

1. Airway

Ensure this is clear using the head tilt and chin lift with the head in the neutral position. In the neutral position the face is in line with the body.


2. Breathing

Whilst keeping the airway open and looking down the length of the body: LOOK,LISTEN & FEEL.

Look for chest movement

Listen for airflow at the mouth & nose

Feel for airflow at the mouth & nose against your cheek

If there is no normal breathing, give 5 rescue breaths by placing your mouth over the nose and mouth of the infant and blowing steadily to cause the chest to rise. These 5 breaths are called rescue breaths.


3. Circulation

Check for a pulse on the inner aspect of the upper arm (brachial pulse).

If a pulse is present and above 60 beats per minute, continue giving inflation breaths at a rate of approximately 30 per minute.

If absent or below 60 beats per minute, use the two finger chest compression technique (part of the basic life support sequence). Compress the chest by at least a third of it’s depth (about 4cm).

Identify the lower part of the breast bone where the left and right sides of the rib cage meet and move up by about one finger breadth. You should now be on the lower one third of the breast bone (sternum).

Using two fingers, compress the chest by approximately 4 cm at a rate of about 100 per minute.

Alternate giving 15 chest compressions with 2 breaths until help arrives. If no help arrives after 1 minute you will need to activate the emergency services by dialling 999 in the UK or 112 anywhere in the world.

If the infant shows signs of life you may discontinue resuscitation but ensure that you continue to maintain the airway and support breathing as required using the techniques shown above.


Being prepared

The Children’s e-Hospital has developed a first aid kit specifically with children in mind. This kit has over 50 parts and also includes flash cards to assist you in the event of having to deal with a choking child and other resuscitation situations

Buy a Children’s First Aid Kit


Authored by: Dr Tim Ubhi

Published: 8th March 2019

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