CPR Guide for Infants (0-12 months)

If you’re in an emergency call (000).

To find out how to perform CPR on an infant (< 12 months old) follow the guide below. You can also other guides on CPR for children (1-8 years), adults & older children (> 8 years) and during pregnancy. Please note – the information provided 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.

All the steps on the Basic Life Support chart below need to be taken before performing CPR on a child.

Infant Basic Life Support - DRSABCD Flowchart

How to perform CPR on an infant

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 end 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.

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.

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 very tiring. If you have another person to help you, with minimal interruption, swap between being the one to give mouth-to-mouth and doing compressions every 5 cycles.

Using an AED

If an AED is available – turn AED on and attach pads or get a bystander to attach them during 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 analyses 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.

Baby & Infant Recovery Position

Printable CPR Chart

Download the Printable CPR Guide for Infants.

Other CPR Resources

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

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