What to do if the baby is choking: First aid for choking infant

If infants are choking, they may not be able to make any noise to let you know. Learning this basic first aid could help save a child’s life.

If the infant is unconscious, do CPR. If they are conscious, follow these steps.

Before helping the choking child

  • Have someone call for emergency
  • If you can see an object in the mouth, try to remove it. Be very careful not to push the object further in!
  • If the child is coughing, encourage the child to continue to bring up what they’re choking on.
  • If the child’s coughing is not effective (it’s silent or they can’t breathe), shout for help immediately and check whether the baby is still conscious.
  • If the baby is conscious, but the coughing isn’t effective, use back blows.

Back blows for choking infant:

  1. Sit down and lay the baby’s face down along your thighs, supporting the head with your hand.
  2. Give up to 5 sharp back blows with the heel of 1 hand in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades.
  3. After 5 back blows, if the baby is still coughing and conscious, give chest thrusts.

 Chest thrusts for choking infant:

  1. Lay the baby face-up along the length of your thighs.
  2. Place two or three fingers in the center of the infant’s chest just below the nipple line.
  3. Give 5 sharp chest thrusts (pushes), compressing the chest by about 4 cm 
  4. After 5 chest thrusts, if the baby is still coughing and conscious, give back blows.

Continue care: Continue sets of 5 back blows and 5 chest thrusts until the object is forced out, the baby can cough and breathe or until the baby becomes unconscious.

Unconscious choking infant

  • If unconscious, lay the child on a firm, flat surface 
  • Open the child’s mouth. If the object’s clearly visible and you can grasp it easily, remove it.
  • Start CPR
  • Continue CPR until the baby begins to recover or emergency help arrives


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