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Infant safety and CPR, what you need to know

As a pediatrician and a mom, Dr. Kim Mangham knows that expectant and new parents worry about keeping their baby safe and what to do in an emergency. She’s here with some simple tips to help you protect your baby and steps you can take in case of an emergency.

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Hi, I'm Dr. Kim Mangum. I'm so happy to be here today to talk to you about infant safety and give you an overview of infant CPR. I work in one of the primary care clinics at Cook Children's on Keller Parkway. Let's talk first about infant safety. There are three points I'd like to make.


The first point is sick contact precautions. So it's really important for newborns not to be exposed to anyone who has any sick symptoms. So it's important to limit visitors and also if you yourself get a cold or a fever please wear a mask when you're caring for your baby.


Secondly, it's very important that babies are rear-facing in a car seat that is installed correctly. The Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you keep your infant rear-facing in the car seat until at least two years of age and older, until they exceed the height or weight specification of the car seat.


It's also very important for babies to be on their back in their own bed to sleep at night to prevent sudden infant death. The other thing that can contribute to infant death is tobacco exposure, so it's important not to have any smokers in your home.


If you go to Cook Children' you can see a really nice video on infant safety.


The main things to know for infant sleep are number one, to make sure they're on their back in their own bed without any additional objects. And also in your room but not in your bed until twelve months of age. You can put your infant in a sleep sack or in a fitted pajama, flat on their back without swaddling. The Academy of Pediatrics prefers that you put the baby on their back rather than on their side to decrease the risk for sudden unexpected infant death.


Now I'd like to talk to you about infant CPR. It's important to know that what I will review today is for only infants zero to twelve months of age. Over 12 months of age CPR is done differently. I advise all my families to take a full CPR class because before you know it your baby will be over a year of age. The other thing we recommend is to go to and purchase the video and the mannequin because there's good data that shows the more you practice CPR the more effective it would be in the case of an emergency.


So this is for CPR for babies less than 12 months of age. The first thing to know is that you'll need, to do CPR on a firm flat surface. The next thing is, how do you know if a baby needs CPR? So you need to tap & shout and if the baby is not responsive go ahead and call 911 and start CPR.


The first thing to do for CPR is to do chest compressions. These are the baby’s nipples and if you imagine a line between the nipples your fingers go right below the nipples straight up and you'll want to go down about an inch and a half and come back up.


The next thing that you'll do is give breaths. So it's important to do 30 chest compressions to 2 breaths. The way that you do the breath is you tilt the baby's head back and you lift the chin up and your mouth will cover a bit of the baby's nose and mouth. You can sort of turn your head a little bit to watch the chest rise and you'll give one breath over the course of about one second, and then give a second breath. So if we put it together, we'll do 30 chest compressions with two breaths. And then you return to chest compressions again. You will continue doing CPR until the baby becomes responsive or until help arrives.


Let’s talk about infant choking. If a baby is choking and you can see the object in his or her mouth it's okay to pull it out, but it's important not to do blind sweeps. In other words, don't put your finger in the mouth trying to get something out that you can't see because what will happen is that object will be lodged further in the baby's throat. If you determine that an infant is choking then it's important to do five back blows followed by five chest thrusts, which are similar to the chest compressions you did with CPR. Now, it is important that you don't get overexcited and put your hands on the baby's face or the baby's neck. Support the baby here and do five vigorous back blows, one, two, three, four, five, followed by five chest thrusts, one, two, three, four, five. You will repeat that series of five back blows and 5 chest thrusts until either the object shoots out of the baby's mouth, or the baby becomes unresponsive. If the baby becomes unresponsive it is important to ask for help. Call 911, lay the baby on a flat surface and start CPR.