What should I do if my child starts to choke?

Jenni Dunman, founder of Daisy First Aid

Babies love to explore new objects with their mouths. Whether it is to examine new tastes or textures, or to help little teeth emerge, mouthing is a great experience for your baby, so ensure that any play objects are safe, unbreakable and are too big to fit inside the mouth. If you are weaning, you may find that your baby occasionally gags on even the most pureed food. The sensitive gag reflex allows the food to move forward into the mouth and its quite normal.

Daisy First Aid, Baby Back Blows Choking, www.daisyfirstaid.com

If an object or food does get stuck in the throat and your baby is coughing, it is called ‘partial blockage’. Remember, if your baby can cough then they can continue to cough until the blockage clears.

You will know if your baby is choking if they are unable to cough, cry or breathe. In this case, you should quickly take the following steps:

  • Sit down and lay baby face down along your thigh supporting their head. Give up to five sharp blows between their shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
  • Check the mouth for the object. If you can confidently pick it out with your fingertips then do so, but take great care not to push it in further.
  • If the back blows do not clear the blockage, give up to five chest thrusts: with your baby laid face up along the length of your thigh, put two fingers just below the centre of the chest and push inwards up to five times.
  • Check their mouth regularly and remove the object if possible.
  • If choking persist, repeat back blows and chest thrusts until you dislodge the object and they can breathe. Call for help as soon as possible 


What should I do if my child starts to choke?

6 thoughts on “What should I do if my child starts to choke?”

  1. My son choked when he was almost 2. It was horrible. I’m ashamed to say I panicked. Luckily my husband was the calm one and jumped to action straight away. I administered the cuddles afterwards. It is really terrifying though and happens so easily.

  2. It is so important to learn first aid in general. I did a course when mine were babies and again last year via the school I work in. Working lunchtimes in a school, this is one of the things I worry about.

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