An emergency guide to performing CPR in infants

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It is the most traumatic to find oneself in a situation where your infant stops breathing due to cases such as drowning, electrical shock, suffocation, poisoning, lung disease or an injury. Most parents are unaware of what to do in such situations and panic instead of helping save the life of their child. The life-saving technique of CPR can help revive the infant and bring him back to life.

“By immediately administering CPR, the lives of infants who stop breathing can be saved. Parents must remain calm and composed and try and help their child. Panic can only lead to the situation becoming worse. They must remember that unlike most situations where hands only CPR 10 is sufficient to revive the victim, in the case of young infants, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is required”, said Padma Shri Awardee Dr. A Marthanda Pillai, National President IMA & Padma Shri Awardee, Dr. K.K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India & Honorary Secretary General IMA.

Adding to this, Dr. KK Aggarwal said, “Upon finding that your child has stopped breathing, you must immediately call an ambulance and begin the technique of CPR. For this, make your child lie back down on a flat surface and compress the center of their chest with two fingers at a speed of 10 x 10 – 100 a minute. After performing 30 compressions, you must shift to mouth-to-mouth breathing. The procedure involves tilting the head of the child back, pinching their nose and breathing two long breaths into their airway. Post this, chest compressions should be repeated and the process follows till medical help does not arrive, or the child is revived”.

In children suffering from hypothermia or low body temperature, CPR should be continued till the body temperature is not brought back to normal. Sometimes this may even take a few hours. A recent case of how a child who had stopped breathing due to drowning was revived after two hours is a great example of how revival attempts should not be stopped in infants where hypothermia is suspected.

Heart Care Foundation of India jointly with the Indian Medical Association, Delhi Red Cross Society and Delhi Police has taken up the challenge of training 100% of the Delhi Police PCR van staff on the life-saving technique of Hands-only CPR 10 by Independence Day 2015. Until now over 7000 police PCR van staff have been trained so far in CPR 10 also called as compression only CPR or bystander CPR or first responder CPR.

The 2010 guidelines set out by the American Heart Association do not recommend mouth to mouth breathing during revival after death due to a sudden cardiac arrest barring the exceptional cases of death due to drowning or in the case of an infant. If 20% of the Indian population is made aware of how to perform Hands-only CPR 10, over 50% of deaths due to a sudden cardiac arrest can be avoided.


A sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the electrical conducting system of the heart fails and the heart beats irregularly and very fast (more than 1000 times, technically called as ventricular fibrillation). Soon after the heart suddenly stops beating and the blood flow to the brain stops. As a result, the person becomes unconscious and stops normal breathing. A cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, but it may be caused by a heart attack. In most cases, sudden cardiac arrest may be reversible in the first 10 minutes. This is possible because the brain remains alive during this period when the heart and respiration have stopped, a situation called clinical death. To know more or to organize a training camp in your locality, please call the NGO’s helpline number 9958771177.

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