How to Help a Choking Infant

Help a Choking Infant
Help a Choking Infant

How to Help a Choking Infant. If your baby begins to choke, try not to panic. Attempt to dislodge the foreign body and reopen the baby's airway.

Check to make sure the baby is not breathing. Watch to see if the baby's chest rises and falls. Listen for the sound of a breath, but don't spend more than 30 seconds listening and watching if you believe your baby is choking.

Shout loudly and ask someone to call 911. If you are alone, go to the phone with your infant and call 911 as you simultaneously attempt to dislodge the foreign body in your baby's throat.

Hold the baby in a face-down position, placing the baby lengthwise on your forearm, head pointed toward the ground. The baby's body should be firm against your forearm. Brace your forearm against your thigh if necessary.

Deliver five firm back blows between the shoulder blades, using the palm of your hand.

If your baby doesn't begin to cry after the back blows, lay him or her face up in the other arm.

Administer five chest thrusts: Place three fingers in the center of the baby's chest, with your middle finger positioned in an imaginary line between the nipples. Raise the middle finger off the chest and use the other two fingers to thrust.

Look into the infant's mouth for a visible blockage. If you see no sign of a foreign body, attempt to ventilate the baby with your mouth.

Place your mouth over the baby's nose and mouth. Make a tight seal with your lips and blow out. If your breath does not move the baby's chest up and down, move the baby's head and neck into a slightly different position and try giving one more breath.

If the airway is still blocked, continue with another set of back blows and chest thrusts until trained medical help arrives.

Tips & Warnings

  • Babies cannot tell us if they are choking, so be alert for the signs: a baby turning blue or dusky or visibly struggling to breathe. If you see tears and the baby flails arms and legs, but you hear no crying, also suspect choking.
  • If you believe your baby is choking and you are frightened, do not hesitate to call 911 immediately. At the same time, though, begin back blows and chest thrusts.
  • This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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