Immediate Life Support (ILS)- Healthcare

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Thumb use infant CPR

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Infant CPR: Thumbs Compression Method

This instructional guide demonstrates an alternative method for performing chest compressions on infants using the thumbs. This technique may be preferred by some individuals for its ease of application.

Overview of Thumbs Compression Method

The thumbs compression method involves a specific technique for delivering effective chest compressions to an infant in distress. This method requires the use of both thumbs to compress the chest, supported by the hands encircling the infant's torso.

Initial Steps

  • Rescue Breaths: Begin with five rescue breaths to ensure oxygen flow before starting chest compressions.
  • Timing for Assistance: If conducting CPR solo, perform CPR for one minute before seeking additional help.

Compression Technique

  • Positioning: Use both thumbs to compress the chest, positioning them in the centre of the chest, just as you would with the two-finger technique.
  • Depth of Compressions: Ensure compressions are at least one-third of the chest's depth, approximately four centimetres for infants.
  • Rate of Compressions: Maintain a compression rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
  • Hand Placement: Place both hands on either side of the infant's chest to stabilise and deliver adequate compressions.

Benefits of the Thumbs Compression Method

This method offers an alternative for healthcare providers and rescuers who may find it more comfortable or effective than the standard two-finger technique.


Choosing between the thumbs compression method and the traditional two-finger technique depends on the rescuer's preference and comfort. Both methods aim to provide effective chest compressions to support the infant's circulatory function during CPR.