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A Guide to Baby First Aid

If your baby is choking...

A baby's airway can be blocked by a small object or risky foods such as nuts, whole grapes, hot dogs, and popcorn. A child who is coughing while choking is able to get some air into the lungs -- watch her carefully as her reflexes work to clear the airway. If she doesn't cough up the object and her cough weakens, she can't make a sound, or she stops breathing, have someone call 911. If you're alone, provide one minute of care (see below), and then call.

1. Give five back blows. To do this, first position the infant facedown on your forearm, resting your arm on your thigh for support. Support her chin with your hand, and make sure her head and neck are lower than her torso. Then use the heel of your free hand to give her five firm back blows between the shoulder blades.

2. If she doesn't cough up the object, turn her onto her back. Rest her on your forearm, using your thigh to support her body and your hand to steady her head. Make sure that her head and neck are lower than her torso. Give five chest compressions (as described in the CPR printable pullout).

3. Repeat back blows and chest compressions until the object is coughed up or the baby starts to breathe or cough. See the doctor afterward, even if your baby seems fine.

4. If a choking baby becomes unconscious, deliver two rescue breaths (see steps 1 and 2 of the CPR section on page 87 for technique). If the breaths don't go in, the airway is probably blocked. Tilt the baby's head farther back, lift her chin, and give two more slow rescue breaths. If the breaths still don't go in, give five chest compressions.

5. Look for a foreign object. Open the baby's mouth and look for an object that is blocking the airway. If you see it, use your little finger to remove it. (Don't fish for it if you can't see anything.)

6. Give another rescue breath. If the chest still does not rise, continue the cycle of five chest compressions, looking for a foreign object, and giving a rescue breath until help arrives. If the breath goes in, and the chest rises, give a second breath and check for breathing and circulation.