First Aid for Choking (Babies & Children)
Now we’ve dealt with what choking is, how to prevent it, how to recognize it – it’s time to talk about how to treat it as first aiders. It’s difficult to describe this in words, so remember to book your training and get chance to practice as well. The steps and actions we take are broken up like this:
Babies or children?
Conscious or not?
As far as the text-book goes, babies are up to 1 year of age and children are over this. You may choose to use your judgment.
First Aid for Choking Babies, still conscious
Don’t do this if baby is coughing forcefully or has a strong cry. Strong coughs and cries can help push the object out of the airway. Let them continue to cough it out.
If baby is not coughing forcefully or does not have a strong cry, or if they have been coughing but are getting weaker, then:
- Lay baby face down, along your forearm.
- Use your thigh or lap for support.
- Position yourself close to the floor – kneeling may be best (remember they’ll still be upset & wriggling!)
- Hold baby’s chest in your hand and jaw with your fingers.
- Point baby’s head down, lower than the body.
- Give up to 5 quick, forceful blows between the infant’s shoulder blades. Using the palm of your free hand.
If the object does not come out of the airway after 5 blows:
- Turn the infant face up. Use your thigh or lap for support. Support the head.
- Place 2 fingers on the middle of his breastbone just below the nipples.
- Give up to 5 quick thrusts down, compressing the chest 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the chest.
If it still does not come out
Continue 5 back blows followed by 5 chest thrusts until the object is dislodged or baby becomes unconscious. Make sure emergency services have been called!
Next – choking for older children