Do You Know the Differences between Infant, Child and Adult CPR?

CPR First Aid Training

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) involves assisting someone of any age when his or her heartbeat and breathing have stopped.

There are two main steps to CPR:

1. Providing chest compression's to keep the blood moving when the heart isn't pumping

2. Providing rescue breathing to give the lungs oxygen when someone can't breathe on their own. You also check for a blocked airway.

The process of CPR is similar for assisting adults, young children, or infants, but there are key differences. CPR training defines an infant as a child who is less than a year old, a child as someone older than a year but who hasn't reached puberty, and an adult as anyone who is at the age of puberty or older.

Here's an overview of differences between infant, child and adult CPR:

CPR for Infants

Infants are the most fragile and extra care should be given when providing CPR. As with young children, infants bones are more flexible than adults, but also more delicate. Here are the steps to take with an infant for CPR:

  1. Is the baby conscious? Before you begin CPR on a child or adult, you will need to determine if the baby is conscious. For a baby shaking is not advised so instead gently stroke the baby, or tap the soles of the feet and watch for movement or another response.
  2. Perform CPR before calling 911. As with small children, infants have a higher survival rate than adults when receiving immediate CPR. If you are alone, provide CPR first-and then call 911 after five CPR cycles or two minutes. If there is anyone else present, have that person call 911 while you provide CPR.
  3. Check for a pulse. The place where you check for a pulse in infants is different than for children and adults. Instead of using the carotid artery, check for a pulse on the inside of the upper arm, where the brachial artery is found.
  4. Provide rescue breaths. Infants have very fragile airways that become blocked easily. Tilting the head back too far can make the problem worse. The correct position for infants is called the "sniffer's position"-which entails tilting the head back just enough to make the baby appear to be sniffing the air.
  5. When providing rescue breaths, be very gentle. Use your cheeks rather than the full strength of your lungs to blow air into the baby's mouth. Because babies' faces are so small, you can cover their entire mouth and nose as opposed to just their mouth when providing rescue breaths.
  6. Provide compressions. Because they are so small, babies only require two fingers in the center of the chest during chest compressions. Compressions for infants should only be an inch to an inch and a half deep. Frequency should be 30 compressions to two rescue breaths.

CPR for Children

Most of the techniques used for children aged one to eight years old are the same as those recommended for adults. Here's an overview of the places where there are differences. Here is what makes giving CPR to a child different than both an adult and infant:

  1. Start CPR before calling 911. Like an infant start CPR immediately on a child if you are the only person present and you have to make a choice between beginning CPR and calling emergency response. This is because children are generally more resilient than adults, and their chances of survival if they receive immediate CPR are much higher-approximately 70%. If alone, you should call 911 after providing CPR to a child after five compression and breath cycles, which should last about two minutes. Of course, if there are other people around, someone else should call 911 immediately as you perform CPR.
  2. Provide rescue breaths. Children's airways are more fragile than adults'. As a result, you must be more careful when providing rescue breaths to a child not to tilt the head back too far. This can actually block the airway further, especially for smaller children. So be careful in tilting the head back, and breathe more gently with a child than you would with an adult.
  3. Provide compressions. Depending on the size of the child, you can use one or two hands to provide compressions. Because children have smaller chests than adults, the depth of compressions should be only one and a half inches. The compression and breath rate should be the same for children as for adults-30 compressions to two breaths.
  4. AED treatment. If you have access to an AED, you should use it after five cycles or about two minutes of CPR. Use the pediatric pads if they are available.

CPR for Adults

Adults can suffer from choking, blocked airways, drowning incidents, and other problems, but most adults need CPR when they experience cardiac arrest. Here's an overview of what steps make giving CPR to an adult different from children and infants :

  1. Call 911 Immediately. When performing CPR on an adult, you should call 911 immediately before beginning CPR if you are the only person present unless you believe the person is unconscious because of a blocked airway; in which case you should call 911 after providing CPR for a minute. If there are others nearby, someone else should call 911 while you begin
  2. Check for a pulse. It's usually easiest to find the pulse on an adult by checking the carotid artery on the neck, just below the jaw, with two fingers.
  3. Provide rescue breaths. Hands-only CPR is currently recommended by the American Heart Association, particularly for people who are not experienced in delivering CPR. But if you do provide rescue breaths to an adult, you'll tilt the victim's head back slightly and clear the airway with a finger before breathing.
  4. Provide compression. For an adult, you'll provide compressions with two hands in the center of the chest, putting pressure through the heels of your hands. The depth of compression for adults should be approximately 2 inches as compared to 1-1.5 inches for a child.

While the steps for performing CPR are not vastly different between infants, children and Adults there are some important steps that could be the difference between saving someone's life. Having the knowledge of the proper steps will make you feel comfortable in any situation.

Concordes Garden Grove campus offers CPR classes to the public on a monthly basis. You are able to get both adult and infant certified and learn proper first aid. Certification courses are conducted by Concorde instructors, but are independent and not affiliated with Concorde. It is not part of an academic program, nor for academic credit.

To join a class or learn more about a possible health care career, contact Concorde today!


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