Child Safety

What to Do if Your Child is Choking

No matter how careful and vigilant a parent may be, accidents sometimes happen. The American Heart Association recommends the following actions to help a choking child.

If Your Baby is Choking

  • Hold the baby face down on your forearm, with the infant's head in your hand.
  • Give up to five blows to the back with the heel of your free hand.
  • Turn the baby over and give up to five chest thrusts, placing the heel of your free hand on the lower half of the breastbone.
  • Alternate between the five back blows and five chest thrusts until the object in the baby's throat comes out or the baby becomes unconscious.
  • If the baby becomes unconscious, have someone call 911, and begin giving CPR.
  • If you are alone, call 911 after you have given CPR for about a minute.

If Your Older Child is Choking

  • Ask the child if he or she can speak. If he or she cannot, tell him or her that you are going to help.
  • Get behind the child and wrap your arms around his or her midsection.
  • Place your fist against the center of the child's abdomen, between the navel and the ribs. Use your other hand to hold your fist in place.
  • Give abdominal thrusts until the object comes out or until the child becomes unconscious.
  • If the child becomes unconscious, have someone call 911, and begin giving CPR.
  • If you are alone, call 911 after you have given CPR for about a minute.