Infant choking

When a baby is suspected of choking, it is vital that you are prepared with what to do. There might be a foreign object lodged in the mouth or throat of the child that should be removed.

First aid for infant choking

Assessing the situation

In case the infant could not cry or cough suddenly, there might be an object blocking the airway and it should be removed. The child might make odd noises or no sounds at all while opening his/her mouth while the skin turns red or bluish.

If the child is coughing or gagging, it indicates that the airway is partly blocked. In such cases, allow him/her to cough. Remember that coughing is an effective way to dislodge any blockage.

Infant choking

In case the infant could not cry or cough suddenly, there might be an object blocking the airway and it should be removed.

If the child could not expel the object, request someone to call for emergency assistance while performing back blows with chest thrusts. If alone with the child, provide 2 minutes of care and call for emergency assistance.

Performing back blows and chest thrusts

Back blows

If the child is conscious but could not cry, cough or breathe and you suspect that there is something obstructing the airway, position him/her face up on one forearm, cradling the back of his/her head using that hand.

Position the other hand and forearm on his/her front. Using the thumb and fingers to grasp the jaw, turn him/her over in a face down position lengthwise the other forearm. Lower the arm onto your thigh so the head of the child is lower than his/her chest.

With the heel of your hand, deliver 5 firm back blows between the shoulder blades of the child to dislodge the object. Maintain proper support of his/her head and neck by holding firmly on his/her jaw between your thumb and forefinger.

The next step is to place your free hand on the back of the child’s head with your arm along his/her spine. Carefully turn him/her over while keeping your other hand and forearm on his/her front.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on infant choking is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the indications of choking among infants and how to properly manage one by taking a standard first aid course with Vancouver First Aid.

Chest thrusts

Utilize your thumb and fingers to hold his/her jaw while sandwiching in between the forearms to support the head and neck. Lower the arm supporting his/her back onto your opposite thigh while keeping the head lower than the rest of his/her body.

Position the pads of 2 or 3 fingers in the middle of the chest of the child, just beneath an imaginary line that runs between his/her nipples. When performing a chest thrust, drive straight down on the chest about 1 ½ inches and allow the chest to return to its normal position.

Perform 5 chest thrusts and keep the fingers in contact with the breastbone of the child. Make sure that the chest thrusts must be smooth.

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