Any child who is choking needs immediate help. Most choking incidents can be cured by effective back blows, but methods vary according to age, so you need to know exactly what to do for a young baby.
A baby under 12 months of age who has something obstructing his or her throat will suddenly be unable to cough, breathe, or cry.
If this happens to your baby, stay calm and follow this procedure:
- Hold baby – head low and facing down – along the inside of your arm, with your hand supporting baby’s weight.
- Use the heel of your other hand to strike baby between the shoulder blades.
- Turn baby quickly and check the mouth for any obvious objects that may have been dislodged.
- Repeat back blows up to 5 times – checking the mouth after each one.
- If baby is still choking, turn him over, place 2 fingers in the middle of the chest, and thrust inwards and upwards in the direction of baby’s head to force air up the ‘windpipe’.
- Quickly check the mouth for dislodged objects, as before.
- Repeat chest thrusts up to 5 times – checking the mouth after each one.
- Do up to 3 cycles of back blows and chest thrusts, and if baby’s throat is still obstructed, call the emergency number for an ambulance.
- Until help arrives continue trying to dislodge the obstruction – perform resuscitation (CPR) if it becomes necessary.
PLEASE NOTE: Any baby who has been given chest thrusts must be checked by a medical practitioner for any internal injury.
Breathing in a small object that the baby has placed in their mouth, such as a button, coin, balloon, toy part, or watch battery, causes choking in newborns. A total or partial blockage of the airway can cause choking. A total blockage is considered a medical emergency.