The information posted in this blog on infant CPR is for information purposes only. If you want to learn to do infant CPR take a Red Cross CPR course or a Infant CPR course with Vancouver First Aid Ltd. Infant CPR training is included in CPR “C”, CPR “HCP” and infant first aid courses.
Adult and child CPR have become more and more similar to infant CPR. Over the past decade several changes have been implemented by the Red Cross, Lifesaving Society and other first aid and CPR providers that have made the differences between all adult, child and infant CPR very small. This blog post will focus on infant CPR and the subtle differences between it and adult CPR.
When surveying the scene and doing a scene assessment for an adult, the rescuer pinches and shouts to determine the responsiveness of the victim. Rescuers are required to gently pinch the neck muscles to determine the responsiveness of deaf victims. For victim responsiveness with infants, we can not pinch the neck of the infant becomes it doesn’t have the muscle to gently pinch. Instead, the rescuers can tickle the toes and gently move the legs and arms to determine responsiveness. Shouting also applies for infants to determine responsiveness.
Furthermore, when opening the airway of an adult or child rescuers are told to pull the head back as far as possible with harming the victim (don’t pull back as hard as physically possible). However, for an infant, rescuers need to imagine the airway of an infant as a straw. If you pull the straw back too far, it bends and closes and prevents no air from passing through. If the rescuers doesn’t have the airway far back enough, just like with a straw, the airways remains closed. The rescuer needs to find the correct position to have an open airway for an infant. Instructors generally mention a “sniffing” position, however, most candidates, whether re-certifying or taking the course for the first time, have a glazed and dumbfounded look in there eyes when told about a “sniffing” position. The most easily understood explanation for opening an airway for an infant has been for the rescuer to tilt the head back of the infant so that the chin and the nose are parallel to the ground. This is the simplest and common sense tip for how to open the airway for an infant.
When ventilating an infant victim the rescuer can not plug the nose and ventilate as it is done for an adult or child. If a rescuer attempts to ventilate a infant victim by plugging the nose the rescuer will not be able to provide a good seal around the victims mouth and the ventilation will not be effective. Instead, when doing ventilation’s for an infant, the rescuer should seal his or her lips over the victims mouth and nose. This will create an effective seal and provide for effective ventilation’s for the infant.
When ventilating the infant, rescuer must be careful not to apply the same amount of air as for a adult or child victim. Too much air can cause stomach distension and create further complications and prevent effective CPR. This is an occasion where too much can be a bad thing. As is the same for an adult and child victims, rescuers should attempt to watch the victims chest to see it rise as rescuers attempt to ventilate. Once the chest rises immediately stop and proceed to the next step whether it is to ventilate again or to perform chest compressions. When ventilating for an infant, rescuers should attempt to give “puffs” of air instead of full breaths and watch for the chest to rise.
Finally, the other major difference between doing CPR on a adult / child versus an infant is the location and force of chest compressions. When land-marking for chest compressions for an infant the rescuers should have two fingers just below the nipple line. An effective way to landmark is to place three fingers, side by side, along the infants chest with the top finger between the nipples and the other two fingers below, side by side, towards the victims legs. Once the rescuer has there fingers in this position, the rescuer can lift the top finger that was between the nipples and keep the other two fingers which should be in the correct area for chest compressions. The force between the chest compressions should be obviously less than the force required for an adult or child.
To learn how to do proper and effective CPR on an adult, child or infant take a CPR C class with Vancouver First Aid. Our Red Cross Vancouver certifications are nationally accredited and are valid for up to 3 years. Vancouver First Aid Ltd also offers Red Cross courses in Richmond, Burnaby and Surrey.