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First Aid: What To Do If Your Child Is Choking?

First Aid: What To Do If Your Child Is Choking?

This is every parent’s nightmare. Your child is eating their snack, and all of a sudden, they are choking. His lips turn blue and your first reaction is to panic. While this reaction is normal, there are some steps that you can carry out, which can help you take immediate control of the situation.

Knowing how to quickly and effectively clear a blocked airway and resuscitate your child may save his life.

If your baby is choking but is still able to cough, allow him to do so, as this is the best way to clear an airway. Do not try to pull the object out, unless you can see it plainly. If you can, be careful, you don’t want to push it further in.

Always remember to remain calm, and keep your child calm too.


Remove the blockage

Hold your baby so that he is laying face down along your forearm, with his head lower than his bottom and his back and head supported.

Use the heel of your hand to give five him five blows between his shoulder blades.

Check your baby’s mouth to remove any obvious obstructions.


Five thrusts to his chest

If your baby is still unable to breathe at this stage, turn him onto his back and use two fingertips to push inwards and upwards towards his head against his breastbone, one finger’s width below his nipple line. Try and dislodge the object with each thrust.

Keep checking your baby’s mouth after each thrust for any obstructions.

If the obstruction still does not clear after three cycles of back blows and chest thrusts, dial 10177 for an ambulance. However, continue giving your baby back blows and chest thrusts until help arrives.


How to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on your baby

Perform CPR (click here for instructions)


Safety measures

Always encourage your child to sit when eating, and to chew thoroughly. Always remind them to chew and swallow their food before talking, laughing or playing.


Avoid these foods if your child is younger than 4-years-old.

  • hard candies
  • nuts
  • cheese cubes
  • hot dogs
  • sausages
  • grapes
  • crisps
  • sunflower seeds
  • popcorn
  • raw apples and pears
  • cherries
  • celery
  • raw carrots
  • peas
  • watermelon with seeds


Also, never

  • allow your child to run, play or ride in the car with gum, candy or a lollipop in their mouth.
  • leave pieces of food on the floor. Always clean up thoroughly to avoid your child from eating this.
  • leave coins lying around or buy any toys with bits that can be removed and subsequently eaten.

Acting quickly, and knowing what to do is the best way to stay calm. While performing all these steps call for help or get to your nearest doctor.


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