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Differences Between CPR for Infants vs Young Children

Oct 08

Learning CPR can seem like a daunting task, especially considering the responsibility that could fall to you, should you ever have to use your CPR training.

That said, CPR training is important, and it’s important that it be done properly. One of the most vital aspects of proper CPR training is that it takes into account the differences between performing CPR on various age groups.

If you are a parent, caregiver, or someone else who is around children regularly, then you not only need to know CPR, but you also must know how to perform CPR properly on younger children and infants. Though there are some clear similarities between CPR for adults and CPR for children, the differences are important enough that you should consider receiving special training for infants and children.

While we do offer adult CPR classes here at Infant CPR, we are primarily focused on helping parents and caregivers learn how to properly administer CPR to infants and children. We want to make sure you have all the information you would need in order to save a baby or child’s life in an emergency situation.

In that spirit, today we are outlining the key differences between CPR for infants versus CPR for young children. By knowing these differences and applying them to more comprehensive training through our training courses, you’ll be fully prepared to perform CPR properly on an infant or child.

Infants are more delicate than young children.

Both infants’ and young children’s bones are generally more flexible than adults’, making it less likely that the bones will break while performing CPR. That said, babies are more delicate than children and should be handled with care during CPR.

Don’t shake a baby to check responsiveness.

Gently shaking a young child is one way to check to see if the child is responsive. However, this is not safe for infants. Instead, you should tap the baby’s foot and shout to see if the baby responds.

Check for an infant’s pulse on the infant’s arm.

While the best place to check for the pulse of a young child (or adult, for that matter), is the carotid artery on the neck, it’s best to check for an infant’s pulse on the inside of the upper arm (the brachial artery).

Cover an infant’s mouth and nose with your mouth to deliver rescue breaths.

Because an infant’s face is so small, it would be difficult to cover their mouth with your mouth while pinching their nose. As such, when performing CPR on an infant, you should cover their mouth and nose with your own mouth, creating a seal that allows you to perform rescue breaths.

Rescue breaths for an infant should be extra gentle.

When performing CPR on an adult, you’ll likely have to use full lung strength to administer effective rescue breaths. With children, the breaths should be much gentler, and with infants, they should be gentler still. In fact, you likely only need to fill your cheeks with air to have enough air to give a rescue breath to an infant. Make sure to watch for the chest rising and falling when performing rescue breaths.

Use just two fingers when performing chest compressions on an infant.

With such small bodies, infants require you to use only two fingers when giving them chest compressions during CPR. Anything else might be too forceful. The compressions will also be shallower with an infant than with a child.

Bonus: key differences between adult CPR and child/infant CPR.

We’ve covered the main differences between performing CPR on infants versus on children, but there are a few key distinctions to point out when comparing infant/child CPR to adult CPR as well. Here are a couple:

With adults, you should call 911 right away, before performing CPR, even if you’re alone (unless you believe the adult’s airway is blocked). With infants and children, however, it’s important to start performing CPR immediately if you’re alone—even before calling for help. For infants and children, chances of survival increase dramatically if CPR is begun immediately. Call 911 after two minutes of performing CPR, or once the child or infant regains consciousness. If you are not alone when an emergency hits, one person should perform CPR while the other calls 911.
A child or infant’s head should be tilted back more gently than an adult’s when performing rescue breaths. This is because their airways are smaller and more delicate.

Learning how to perform CPR properly could potentially save a life. This is why it’s imperative that you know the differences between performing CPR on children versus infants, and on children and infants versus adults.

Comprehensive CPR training will help you feel confident in an emergency situation. Take one of our convenient online CPR training courses today and be prepared!

Are you ready to learn infant CPR?

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