Family Health Guide

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First Aid: Choking

If your child is choking but can still cough, talk, cry or breathe, it means his airway is only partially blocked; trying to dislodge the object with your finger could make the situation worse. Instead, you need to get someone to call 911, and start CPR rescue steps if he shows any sign of blue lips or skin, inability to swallow, talk, cry, or make noise, inability to breathe (chest doesn't rise up and down), or he loses consciousness. If you’re alone, attempt CPR for two minutes first, then stop and call 911, and then continue rescue efforts until help arrives.

Choking but Conscious Baby Under One Year

1. Lay your baby facedown on your forearm, resting your arm on your thigh to hold him steady. Support his chin firmly with one hand, and be sure his head and neck are lower than his torso.

2. Using the heel of your free hand, deliver five quick, firm blows right between his shoulder blades.

3. If he doesn't cough up the object, turn him onto his back. Rest him on your forearm, using your thigh to support his body and your hand to steady his head and neck. Make sure that both his head and her neck are lower than his torso.

4. Using two fingers, deliver five quick, firm thrusts to the center of his chest, right on the breastbone, about one finger-width below the nipples. Stop if he starts to cough so he can cough up the object.

5. If he still can't breathe, continue to alternate five back blows with five chest thrusts until the airway is unblocked. If this doesn't work or he loses consciousness, start CPR and rescue breathing.

Choking but Conscious Child Over One Year (Performing the Heimlich)

1. Stand or kneel behind him and wrap your arms around his waist.

2. Make a fist with one hand and place the thumb side on the child's abdomen. Your fist should be positioned just above the navel and well below the child's breastbone.

3. Grasp the fist with your other hand and give five quick inward and upward thrusts. Each thrust should be a separate, distinct movement. Continue with a series of five thrusts until the object is expelled. If this doesn't work or the child loses consciousness, start CPR and rescue breathing.

Common Choking Hazards, Age by Age