What is Rescue Breathing for Infants?

Rescue breathing, also known as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, is a lifesaving procedure used when someone is not breathing. For infants, the procedure slightly varies, as their anatomy and requirements differ from those of older children or adults.

Why is it Important to Understand the Correct Procedure?

The fragility of an infant’s body means that certain adjustments must be made during breathing tasks for infants to ensure their safety and prevent injury. Applying too much force or using inappropriate techniques can be harmful, which is why knowing the correct steps is vital.

Benefits of Performing Infant CPR

CPR, which stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a life-saving technique that’s vital to know, especially for those who are caregivers or parents of infants.

When it comes to infants, the stakes are particularly high given their fragility and dependence on adults for care. Below are three major benefits of performing infant CPR.

1.Immediate Response to Life-Threatening Situations

Early Intervention: The first few minutes after an infant stops breathing or their heart stops beating are crucial. Brain damage and other severe complications can occur within minutes of oxygen deprivation.

By starting CPR immediately, you are actively pushing oxygen-rich blood to the infant’s brain and vital organs, potentially preventing irreversible damage. Waiting for medical professionals to arrive without intervening can waste precious time.

With knowledge of infant CPR, you can bridge the gap between the onset of the emergency and the arrival of professional help.

Increasing Survival Rates: Studies have shown that immediate and effective CPR can double, or even triple, a victim’s chance of survival. For infants, whose systems can fail much faster than adults due to their size and developmental stage, this immediate intervention can mean the difference between life and death. When caregivers or family members know and promptly apply infant CPR, they significantly increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.

2.Building Confidence and Preparedness in Caregivers

Empowering Caregivers: It’s every caregiver’s worst nightmare to feel helpless in a crisis. Knowledge of infant CPR empowers parents, grandparents, babysitters, and others with the skills and confidence to act decisively during an emergency.

Image alt text: illustration of how to perform infant rescue breathing.

Author credit: By Yonat945 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64276238

When faced with a dire situation, the training kicks in, guiding the individual through the steps required to assist the infant. This empowerment not only benefits the infant but also alleviates the profound helplessness and panic caregivers might feel during such situations.

Creating a Safer Environment: When a caregiver knows infant CPR, they’re not only equipped to handle emergencies but also more likely to be proactive about preventing them. Being trained in CPR often correlates with increased awareness of potential hazards, leading caregivers to create safer environments for infants.

This forward-thinking mindset ensures that potential dangers are identified and mitigated before they pose a risk.

3.Enhancing Broader Community Safety

Setting a Precedent: When one member of a community, family, or friend group learns infant CPR, it often serves as a catalyst for others to follow suit. By sharing stories or emphasizing the importance of the skill, individuals can influence others to also get trained. This ripple effect strengthens the safety net for not just one child, but many within a community.

Community-wide Preparedness: Emergencies don’t always occur in the confines of our homes. They can happen in public spaces like parks, malls, or community events. If more individuals within a community are trained in infant CPR, it ensures that there’s almost always someone around who can step up during a crisis. In essence, a community that prioritizes learning CPR becomes a safer space for all its infants and children.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Infant Rescue Breathing

  1. Check the surroundings: Always ensure the environment is safe for both the infant and the rescuer.
  2. Assess responsiveness: Gently tap the baby’s foot or give a slight shake. If there’s no response, proceed to the next step.
  3. Call for help: If you’re alone, give 1 minute of care before calling emergency services. If someone’s with you, have them call immediately.
  4. Position the baby: Lay the infant on a firm, flat surface with their face up. Tilt the head back slightly to open the airway.
  5. Check for breathing: Put your ear close to the baby’s mouth and nose. Listen and feel for breathing for no more than 10 seconds. If there’s no breathing or only gasping, start with rescue breaths.
  6. Cover the baby’s mouth and nose: Using your mouth, cover the infant’s mouth and nose entirely. Make sure you create a good seal.
  7. Give gentle breaths: Puff out your cheeks and give 2 gentle breaths, ensuring the baby’s chest rises with each breath. These breaths should be 1-1.5 seconds long.
  8. Watch the chest: The infant’s chest should rise and fall with each breath. If not, reposition the head and try again.
  9. Continue the procedure: If the baby doesn’t start to breathe after the initial breaths, continue rescue breathing by giving 1 breath every 3-5 seconds.

During breathing tasks for infants, it’s essential to be gentle, accurate, and patient.

5 Commonly Asked Questions

  1. How hard should I breathe into the infant?
    During breathing tasks for infants, ensure you’re gentle. The breath should be enough to make the baby’s chest visibly rise.
  2. What if the baby starts coughing or moving?
    If the infant shows signs of life, like coughing or movement, stop the rescue breaths and keep them calm. Monitor them until help arrives.
  3. When should I stop rescue breathing?
    Stop if the baby starts breathing on their own, if you’re too exhausted to continue, or if a trained medical professional arrives and takes over.
  4. What if there’s an obstruction in the airway?
    If you suspect a blockage during breathing tasks for infants, attempt a combination of back blows and chest thrusts to dislodge the obstruction before continuing with rescue breaths.
  5. How often should I refresh my knowledge on infant CPR and rescue breathing?
    It’s advisable to take refresher courses every year to stay updated and confident in your skills.


Being informed and prepared is crucial for anyone caring for an infant. During breathing tasks for infants, it’s essential to know the appropriate steps and procedures to ensure the infant’s safety.

Being equipped with this knowledge not only prepares you for emergencies but also provides peace of mind.

Consider attending regular training sessions or refresher courses on infant CPR and rescue breathing to ensure you are always ready to provide the best care in a dire situation. Remember, your knowledge can make all the difference in saving a young life.