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What to Do If Your Baby Chokes

Choking on solid foods and other objects is especially dangerous for your baby. You will need to respond quickly. Follow these steps:

  • While sitting or kneeling, hold your baby face down on your forearm. Use your hand to support the head and jaw.
  • Use the heel of your hand to give five back slaps. These back slaps should be between your baby's shoulder blades.
  • If after five back slaps, the object does not come out, place your baby ontheir back. Use two fingers to give five chest thrusts on your baby's breastbone. (See image below.)
  • Switch between giving five back slaps and five chest thrusts. Continue doing this until the object comes out and your baby is able to breathe.
  • If your baby becomes unresponsive, you will need to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If you are with someone, have that person call for emergency medical services right away while you do the CPR steps. Do 30 chest compressions, then check to see if the object can be removed from the mouth. If you see the object, remove it. If your baby is still not breathing open the airway with chin-lift and slight chin tilt, give two breaths and continue with cycles of chest compressions and breaths for two minutes. If you are alone at this point call for help, then return to the cycles.

Chest Thrusts

How To Save a Choking Victim\JPG\Choking_2b .jpg

Chest thrusts are done if the object does not come out after five back slaps.

The American Heart Association offers infant CPR and other first aid classes. By educating yourself, you can keep your baby safe. It is also a good idea to make sure that everyone who cares for your baby knows CPR and first aid.

RESOURCES:

American Heart Association
http://www.heart.org

March of Dimes
http://www.marchofdimes.com

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Paediatric Society
http://www.cps.ca

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References:

Berg MD, Schexnayder SM, Chameides L, Terry M, Donoghue A, Hickey RW, Berg RA, Sutton RM, Hazinski MF. Pediatric basic life support: 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Pediatrics. 2010 Nov;126(5):e1345-60.

Pediatric first aid/CPR/AED. American Red Cross website. Available at: http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4240175_Pediatric_ready_reference.pdf. Published 2011. Accessed May 20, 2014.



Last reviewed May 2014 by Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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