Infant CPR: Know the Difference

Infant CPR can initially be an intimidating if you are called to respond to an emergency situation involving an unresponsive infant. Helping an adult victim is very intense, in and of itself, but when that victim is an infant, it takes the response to a whole another level, especially when you must keep in mind the different CPR techniques for infants.

The biggest differences come from compression rate, compression depth, and technique. When responding to an infant victim in a one rescuer scenario, the 100-120 compressions a minute is the same, but the technique changes from using two hands overlapping each other, to using two fingers at the nipple line to perform compressions.  

When two rescuer CPR is possible, the compressions per minute are still the same, while the compression to ventilation ratio changes from 30:2 to 15:2 along with the technique from the two finger compressions to the encircling hands technique. The reason for the technique change is that with two rescuers, the second rescuer performs the ventilations, while the first rescuer kneels at the infant’s feet to perform compressions. The first rescuer then places their thumbs side by side on the center of the infant’s chest, right below the nipple line, then encircles the infant’s chest so the fingers of both hands support the infant’s back. The first rescuer's thumbs then deliver compressions at the appropriate rate and depth.

Another significant difference between adult and infant CPR is the depth of compressions. Recall that in adult CPR the depth is 2 inches or 5 cm, but with infants it changes to 1 ½ inches or 1/3 of the depth of the chest. This change takes into consideration the obvious differences in the anatomy of the infant victim. 

As one can see, there are plenty of differences between adult and infant CPR. Infant CPR is important for parents and caregivers as it will give them the confidence and skills needed should an infant medical emergency arise.

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