If children are choking, they may not be able to make any noise. If they are unconscious, do CPR. If they are conscious, follow these steps.
Before helping the choking child
- Have someone call 1669 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 your child’s coughing is not effective (it’s silent or they can’t breathe), shout for help immediately and check whether your child is still conscious.
- If your child is conscious, but the coughing isn’t effective, give abdominal thrusts.
Abdominal thrusts for children
- Stand or kneel behind your child.
- Wrap your arms around the child’s waist, just below the bottom of the rib cage.
- Place your fist of one hand in the middle of the victim’s abdomen between the navel and the rib cage.
- Hold your fist with the other hand and make powerful upward thrusts on the child’s diaphragm muscle located under the rib cage.
- Make sure you don’t apply pressure to the lower ribcage, as this may cause damage.
Continue care: Continue abdominal thrusts until the object is forced out, the child can cough and breathe or until the child becomes unconscious.
Unconscious choking child
- If unconscious, lay your child on a firm, flat surface
- Start CPR
- Continue CPR until your child begins to recover or emergency help arrives
- First aid - Choking children (one year up) - American Red Cross (https://www.redcross.org/content/dam/redcross/atg/PDF_s/Health___Safety_Services/Training/Pediatric_ready_reference.pdf)
- First aid - Choking children (one year up) - National Health Service (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/helping-choking-baby/)
- First aid - Choking children (one year up) - Kids Health (https://www.kidshealth.org.nz/choking-what-do)