UmYazan's Blog

First Aid – Choking Babies

Posted on: October 18, 2009

A friend of mine recommended that I post a blog about Choking and what to do if baby chokes. I can’t tell you how this is probably a parent’s worst fear… or one of them at least… we have many! I refer to my bible of baby advice,  from the What to Expect Series by Arlene Eisenber, Heidi Murkoff, Sandee E. Hathaway B.S.N. and published by Workman Publishing, New York… (pages 454-456 of What to Expect the First Year)

Coughing is the natural way we react to disloding something that gets stuck in our throat. If your baby or anyone else who is coughing can cry, breathe or cough forcefully, then they are fine. However, if it persists for more than two to three minutes, call for Emergency assistance. Signs of immediate aid include:

1. high pitched crowing sounds

2. turning blue especially starting at or around the lips

3. Ineffective coughing and difficulty in breathing

Follow the following steps and get medical assistance as fast as possible:

Babies Under One Year (conscious or unconscious)

  1. Get Help! If baby is choking, call Emergency immediately. Stay calm.
  2. Position the baby – straddle baby face down along your forearm with head slightly lower than trunk. Cradle baby’s chin in the curve between your thumb and forefinger and rest your arm on your thigh (you should be seated). If baby is too big for your forearm, straddle baby across your lap and make sure head is lower than body.
  3. Administer back blows – using the heel of your hand, give 5 consecutive blows to baby between baby’s shoulder blades.
  4. Adminster chest thrusts – if no sign of disloding has appeared after the back blows (forceful coughing, normal breathing, object shooting out), turn child over by placing the flat of your free hand on the back and supporting head, neck and chest with the other hand and turn baby over. Make sure head is still lower than trunk. Support head and neck of baby with your hand.  Position your hand by “imagining a horizontal line from nipple to nipple. Place the pad of your index finger just under the intersection of this line with the sternum (the flat breastbone running down the middle of baby’s chest between ribs). The area to compress is one finger’s width below this point of intersection. Position two fingers along the sternum and deliver five chest thrusts, compressing the sternum to 1/2 to 1 inch depth with each compression and allow the sternum to return to normal position before the next compression. Keep your fingers in place. Keep repeating back blows and chest compression until airway is cleared or baby becomes unconscious while you wait for help to arrive. If baby is still unconscious do a foreign body check
  5. Foreign body check – Check for a visible obstruction, open baby’s mouth, place thumb in baby’s mouth, grasp tongue and lower jaw with your thumb and forefinger. Depress the tongue with thumb as you life the jaw up and awayfrom the back of the throat. If you see a foreign object, attempt to remove it by performing a sweep of a finger. Don’t sweep the mouth if you do not see anything and don’t try to remove an object if you see it by trying to pinch it out, you could force it down further.
  6. Do an airway check. If baby isn’t breathing properly, open the airway by tilting head and chin and administer two slow breaths with your mouth sealed over nose and mouth of baby.. If chest rises and falls with each breath, the airways are clear.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 again until baby is breathing normally, object is dislodged, et. Don’t give up, when there is no oxygen, the muscles relax and it becomes easier to dislodge the object. Keep repeating until help arrives or until baby is breathing normally.

Babies over one Year (Unconscious)

  1. Position child face up on a flat surface (floor or table). Stand/kneel at child’s feet and place the heel of one hand on the abdomen in the midline between the navel and the rib cage, fingers facing toward your child’s face. Place the other hand on top of the first
  2. Administer thrusts of 6 to 10 rapid inward and upward thrusts to dislodge the foreign object. Be gentle but firm and don’t apply press to the tip of the sternum or ribs
  3. Do an airway check. Tilt head and adminster two mouth-to-mouth breaths. Pinch the nostrils closed during mouth-to-mouth. If chest rises, airway is clear. If not, repeat the sequence until help arrives or normal breathing/object is dislodged. Don’t give up.

Children Over 1 year, Conscious

  1. Stand behind child and wrap your arms around her/his waist
  2. Position the thumb side of one fist against child’s abdomen in the midline slightly below the navel and way below the top of the breastbone
  3. Administer thrusts, grasp the positioned fist with other hand and press into child’s abdomen with a quick upward thrust (be gentle but firm). Repeat until object is ejected or baby breathes normally again.

Even after object is dislodged and baby is breathing normally, call your doctor or visit the Emergency Room to ensure all is well. I also suggest that you read the entire chapter in What to Expect the First Year for first aid techniques and help. The information above was re-written from the book and is not my own content.

Keep your babies safe!


3 Responses to "First Aid – Choking Babies"

Awesome information! one thing that is also an area of concern are earthquakes… what to do when you’re at work and it occurs and your child is at home with the caretaker, does everyone at home know what should be done?

Another thing in relation to the above post what emergency numbers do we call? or is it better to go to a hospital in person…

Hi UmYazan,

I was searching the internet with my next door neighbor about choking babies and we think what you wrote is AWESOME ….

you rock UmYazan …

Keep up the Good Work …


can you write something about new babies and how to deal with things like diarrhea … how to know if they have constipation ….

i dont know … anything that can help us as new mommies

thank you

Hi Anna,

Actually, the blogs are from actual experience, however, the Choking Babies is based on factual information and recommendation on first aid. Thank God i have not had any experienc with my son choking, but as a concern i wanted to make sure that it was available just in case, God forbid, happens…

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