Published on August 27, 2021

How to Perform Infant CPR & Rescue Breathing

infant feet

While you hope you'll never need to use infant CPR or rescue breathing for a choking infant, it's important to know the steps in case of an emergency.


It is very important to do chest compressions in the right spot and to push the breastbone down hard and fast. To do chest compressions correctly you should:

  • Place your fingers on the lower half of the breastbone.
  • Push hard – at least 1/3 the depth of the chest [about 1 ½ inches (4 cm)].


Usually, if the baby stops breathing, he/she cannot keep an open airway. To open airway for your baby, place your hand on the baby’s forehead and gently tip the head back.


If your baby stops breathing, you will have to breathe for the baby. Place your mouth over your baby’s mouth and nose and breathe into the mouth and nose. Give two breaths. You should see the chest rise. It should look like the baby is taking an easy breath. You will be frightened, so be careful you don’t breathe too hard.

Steps of Infant CPR

  • Check the infant for a response and check breathing. If there is no response and no breathing, or only gasping, shout for help.
  • If someone responds, send that person to call 911. If no one responds, begin the steps of CPR and do them for two minutes.
  • Begin cycles of chest compressions and breaths, starting with chest compressions. Do 30 chest compressions and give two breaths.
  • Repeat cycles of 30 chest compressions and two breaths five times (two minutes).
  • After five cycles of CPR, if no one has called 911, go to the phone and call 911.
  • Continue cycles of 30 chest compressions and 2 breaths until the infant responds or trained help arrives.

Infant Choking

Signs of a choking infant are:

  • the infant cannot breathe
  • the infant has a cough that is very weak or makes no sound
  • the infant cannot cry
  • the infant has high pitched, noisy breathing
  • the infant’s skin and lips turn blue

To help the choking infant, hold him/her on your forearm with the head down. Be sure to support the infant’s head and neck.

  • Give five back blows with the heel of your hand (between the infant’s shoulder blades).
  • Give five chest thrusts (just like giving a chest compressions).
  • Repeat until the object comes out or the infant stops responding. If the infant stops responding, begin CPR with one change – if you believe the infant is unconscious or has stopped breathing because he/she is choked on an object, look in the mouth before giving any breaths. If you see the object, remove it with your finger. Continue CPR until the infant starts to move or trained help arrives.

      Here's some information you hope you never have to use-- infant CPR and rescue breathing.