HELP! My baby is choking!

Sometimes your baby is eating dinner and things take a turn for the worse.  This is not a situation to take lightly.  Choking is one of the leading causes of death in the home and most of these deaths are among small children.  If it happens to your baby, here’s what to do:

Is your baby making any sounds?

If your child is speaking, coughing, or breathing – then it is a good sign!  It means that air is getting into their windpipe and that their airway is only partially obstructed.  Keep a very close eye on the child, but as long as they are making sounds they can expel the object on their own.  Any action on your part may make the situation worse…

If your baby cannot breathe or make a sound…

  • Then you need to take immediate action.  Place them face down over your forearm.  The child’s head should be lower than their body.  Use the heel of your hand to give 5 powerful but measured blows on the baby’s back between the shoulder blades.
    photo credit:

    photo credit:

    If the back blows fail to eject the object from the windpipe…

  • Place your index and middle fingers of one hand on the center of the baby’s chest just below the levels of the nipples.  Compress the chest 4 times in quick succession.
    photo credit:

    photo credit:

    If the chest thrusts fail to eject the object from the windpipe…

  • Grasp the baby’s tongue and and lower jaw between your thumb and finger, and lift.  This may help relieve the obstruction by drawing the tongue away from the back of the throat.
  • Look for the obstruction in the baby’s throat.  If, and only if, the object is clearly visible than attempt to remove it.

    If the baby’s windpipe is still obstructed…

  • Deliver two breaths through their mouth.  If the baby’s chest doesn’t rise then repeat this entire sequence of back blows and chest thrusts while someone calls 911.

Christensen, Kyle, D.C., M.H. Herbal First Aid and Health Care. 2000
“Choking Rescue Procedure (Heimlich Maneuver)-Baby (Younger Than 1 Year).”WebMD. WebMD, 30 Dec. 0090. Web. 03 Sept. 2014.


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