What to do if your child is choking
If child is 1 to 8 years old and conscious:
1. For an older child, ask, "Is something stuck in your throat?" If the child nods yes, ask, "Can you speak?" If the child shakes his head or cannot make any sound, try to keep him calm by telling him you are going to help. For a younger child, look for signs of choking described under "What to look for" (above).
2. Perform "abdominal thrusts" to try to remove the object:
- Stand or kneel behind the child and wrap your arms around his waist. Make a fist with one hand and place the thumb side of your fist against the child's upper abdomen, below the rib cage and above the navel.
- Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into the upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Do not squeeze the rib cage with your forearms.
3. Repeat abdominal thrusts until the object is expelled or the child becomes unconscious. If the child becomes unconscious, proceed to Step 1 below.
If child is 1 to 8 years old and unconscious:
1. See if you can rouse the child: Tap on his foot, rub his back or shout.
2. If the child doesn't respond, do the following:
- Place the child faceup on a firm surface, tilt his head slightly back and lift his chin. Open his mouth and look for a foreign object. If you see an object, remove it; do not stick your fingers into the child's mouth unless you can see the object.
- See if the child is breathing: Look at his chest to see if it is moving, listen for breathing and feel his chest to see if it is moving. If he is breathing, the child likely isn't choking. Call 911 and follow the emergency dispatcher's instructions.
- If the child is not breathing, perform rescue breaths: Place your mouth over his mouth and pinch the nostrils together. Give two breaths lasting about 1 second each.
- As you perform the rescue breaths, watch to see if the chest rises (this means air is getting in). If so, look for movement, coughing or breathing. If any of these are present, turn the child onto his side and call 911.
- If the chest doesn't rise as you perform the rescue breaths, the child likely has an airway obstruction. Call 911 immediately and follow the emergency dispatcher's instructions.
Never feed a child under 3 years uncut hot dogs, hard candy, nuts, grapes, popcorn or raw carrots. Keep out of reach any items that are easy to choke on, such as coins, beads, disc batteries, pills and vitamins, and small toys and balls.
Cut up any food not soft enough to dissolve in the mouth, such as meat (including hot dogs), into fingertip-size pieces.