Learn how to give infant CPR

While we all hope never to need to perform CPR on an infant, it’s critical we know how to. We’ve worked with St John SA to bring you this information and demonstration.

In the event of an emergency

If an emergency situation presents itself, you should follow the ‘DRSABCD’ action plan:

  • Danger
  • Response
  • Send for help
  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
  • Defibrillator


Ensure the area is safe and check for any dangers around you.


Try to get a response from the infant by clapping your hands near their face, calling their name and tickling their hands and feet.

Send for help

Call 000 and put your phone on speaker so you can talk to the operator with both hands free.


Check the infant’s airways by inspecting their mouth and remove anything by flicking it out with your finger while the infant is in the recovery position (see below).


If the infant is not responding, check for breathing by observing, feeling for chest movement and listening for air escaping from their mouth and nose. If you can hear breathing or see movement of the chest, count these for 10 seconds. If the infant takes 5 – 8 breaths in that time, place them over your arm into the recovery position.

The recovery position supports the infant’s head by placing your thumb and forefingers around their jaw and lying the infant on their tummy along your forearm, with their inner leg in the crook of your elbow. Gently roll the infant over your arm, supporting the head and keeping it angled down. If there is little to no breathing, begin CPR.

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)

Start CPR by applying 30 chest compressions followed by 2 breaths

With the infant lying on a hard surface trace a line from each underarm until they meet in the middle of the chest. Move aside any buttons or zips and, with two fingers side-by-side along the sternum in the centre of the chest, press down firmly and smoothly to compress one-third of their chest depth and allow full recoil of the chest wall before compressing again. Repeat 30 times at a speed of 100-120 beats per minute (about the same speed as the beat of the Baby Shark song, or the Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive).

Pause compressions to deliver two breaths. To do this, open the infant’s mouth and ensure their head is kept in neutral alignment with the nose pointing straight up. Place your own mouth over the infant’s mouth and nose, creating a seal. Breathe gently – just a small puff of breath – and watch for movement of the chest wall. Pull back and allow for the breath to expel. Repeat the process for the second breath.

Once the breath is expelled, resume compressions completing more sets of 30 compressions and 2 breaths. Continue doing CPR until the infant recovers, help arrives, or you are unable to continue.

If breathing resumes, place the infant in the recovery position. Maintain position and continue to check the breathing every 30 seconds.


Apply defibrillator if available and follow voice prompts.

Help is on hand

Don’t forget, in an emergency the 000 operator will stay on the call with you to help you stay calm and explain what needs to be done.

15% off first aid training with St John SA

Members get 15% off select St John SA public first aid training courses.

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Posted: Sep 20 2022


The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

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