What to do if the baby is choking?

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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