Responding to Choking

Responding to Choking If a child is not able to breathe, not able to cry, talk, or make noise, turning blue, or grabbing at their throat, or coughing and gagging the early childhood educator should call 911. If they are able to cough or gag (which indicates they are breathing), no further response is needed. If they are not breathing, an immediate response is important.28 The response to choking is called the Heimlich maneuver and varies based on the age of the person that is choking. If the child loses consciousness at any point start CPR (which is covered in the next section).

Responding to a Choking Infant (under 1 year of age) 1. Lay the infant face down, along your forearm. Use your thigh or lap for support. Hold

the infant’s chest in your hand and jaw with your fingers. Point the infant’s head downward, lower than the body.

2. Give up to 5 quick, forceful blows between the infant’s shoulder blades. Use the heel of your free hand.

3. If the object is not dislodged, turn the infant face up. Use your thigh or lap for support. Support the head.

4. Place 2 fingers on the middle of his breastbone just below the nipples. 5. Give up to 5 quick thrusts down, compressing the chest 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the

chest. 6. Continue this series of 5 back blows and 5 chest thrusts until the object is dislodged or

the infant loses consciousness.

Responding to a Choking in a Child (over 1 year of age) 1. Lean the child forward and make 5 blows to their back with the heel of your hand. 2. If this does not work, stand behind the child and wrap your arms around the child’s

waist. 3. Make a fist with one hand. Place the thumb side of your fist just above the child’s navel,

well below the breastbone.33 4. Grasp the fist with your hand. 5. Make 5 quick, upward and inward thrusts with your fists. 6. Alternate between 5 blows to the back and 5 thrusts to the abdomen until the object is

dislodged and the child breathes or coughs on their own.34

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