How to Do the Heimlich Maneuver on a Child

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Do the Heimlich Maneuver on a Child
Do the Heimlich Maneuver on a Child

How to Do the Heimlich Maneuver on a Child. As long as your child is coughing and able to talk, give her the chance to dislodge the foreign body on her own. If your child becomes silent and isn't able to breathe, begin the Heimlich maneuver immediately.

Call 911 or ask someone else to call 911.

Squat behind your child as she stands in front of you.

Place one hand on top of the pelvis line, in the middle of the abdomen. Put your other hand on top of the first. Pull upward, forcefully, toward the child's nose, in a series of five quick thrusts. If that doesn't work:

Place the child face down across your lap. Put one fist below the point where the ribs meet the breastbone.

Give a solid whack to the back, between the lower shoulder blades, with your other hand.

If the child begins to lose consciousness, lower her slowly to the floor. Be sure an emergency squad has been called.

Straddle your child's thighs or sit at her side. Sit at her feet if she is very young.

Put the heel of one hand at the belly button and thrust upward toward the nose five times. These motions are called abdominal thrusts.

Open the child's mouth and look inside to see if you have dislodged the foreign body. If you see a foreign body, sweep it out with a hooked finger. Tilt your child's head to the side, in case of vomiting.

Attempt to open the airway by tilting her head and lifting her chin. Look and listen for signs of breathing.

Give your child a breath by pinching her nose with your fingers and putting your lips over her mouth to form a tight seal. Exhale forcefully into her mouth. Watch to see if her chest rises with your breath. If not, your child's airway is still blocked.

Continue with abdominal thrusts.

Tips & Warnings

  • One study has shown that 85 percent of serious choking incidents in young children involve peanuts. Because of their size, peanuts often lodge in the tracheae of children under age 6.
  • Sweeping foreign objects from the mouth should be done with one hooked finger, which helps ensure you will not lodge the object in the throat.
  • If you are alone with a choking child and must dial 911, take the child with you to the telephone or bring the telephone to the child, so that you can perform the Heimlich maneuver as you are calling the emergency squad.

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