How to perform CPR - Infants (0-12 months)

How to perform CPR on infants
How to perform CPR on infants

If you’re in an emergency, call 000.

Performing CPR on an infant (< 12 months old) is shown in the guide below.

You can also see other guides on CPR for children (1-8 years), adults & older children (over 8 years) and during pregnancy.

Please note, the information below is not a substitute for first aid training

How to determine if CPR is necessary

The DRSABCD action plan is a structured way of assisting a casualty. It includes vital steps such as assessing for danger, checking for a response, sending for help, clearing and opening the airway, and checking for breathing.

The Basic Life Support chart below shows all the critical steps leading up to performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Infant Basic Life Support - DRSABCD Flowchart

Infant Basic Life Support - DRSABCD Flowchart

Infant BLS chart (printable A2 & smaller)

Step-by-step guide

After having followed the DRSABCD plan, follow the steps below. CPR is performed at a ratio of 30:2 (30 chest compressions + 2 rescue breaths).

Chest compressions

1. Place the infant on their back on a firm surface. Kneel or stand beside them. 2. Place two fingers on the lower half of their sternum. Use your other hand to gently hold their head in place.

Baby & Infant CPR Guide - chest compressions, hand and finger placement
3. Press straight down onto the infant’s chest by ⅓ the depth of their chest,generally about 4 cm.

Baby & Infant CPR Guide - opening airways
4. Release the pressure. Allow for a full chest recoil. Pressing down and releasing comprises one compression. The time spent on chest compressions and release phases should be equal. 5. Perform 30 chest compressions moderately hard and fast, at a rate of about 100-120 per minute. It is helpful to count aloud.

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Rescue breaths (mouth-to-mouth)

After the 30 compressions, give 2 rescue breaths.

1. Lift the infant’s chin very slightly whilst gently holding their head in a neutral position. Do not tilt the infant’s head backwards.

Infant CPR
2. Take a breath and form a tight seal around the infant’s nose and mouth. Blow at a steady rate for about 1 second. Look for the chest to rise. Now look for the chest to fall. Repeat and give a second rescue breath.

Baby & Infant CPR Guide - mouth-to-mouth

If the chest does not rise, make sure:

  • The infant is positioned properly.
  • The airway is not obstructed by a foreign body - if it is - remove it.
  • A tight seal is maintained over the infant’s mouth and nose.

One cycle of CPR consists of 30 compressions + 2 rescue breaths.

Keep repeating this process and aim to do 5 cycles of CPR in roughly 2 minutes. Giving life-saving CPR is tiring. If you have another person to help you, swap with minimal interruption, so they give compressions and rescue breaths every 5 cycles.

Using an AED

Where an AED is available, turn it on and attach pads or have a bystander attach them so you can continue doing compressions. Follow the AED’s instructions. An AED will analyse heart rhythm every 2 minutes. It may or may not give a shock. Continue to give CPR in between each analysis cycle.

Find out more about using an AED.

Baby & Infant AED - defibrillator pad positions
Continue performing CPR until:

  • the infant responds or resumes breathing normally
  • it is impossible to continue e.g. due to exhaustion
  • a health care professional takes over or directs that CPR be ceased (don't stop until they tell you)
  • it is too dangerous to continue

If the infant resumes normal breathing then place them in the Recovery Position and monitor breathing until help arrives.

Infant recovery position



Infant CPR chart (printable A2 & smaller)

DisclaimerThis article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute, replace, or qualify as any form of first aid training.

Other CPR Resources

Visit the Australia Wide First Aid CPR Library for even more information, guides and downloadable resources.

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