What is Choking

Choking occurs when a person’s airway is partially or completely obstructed, preventing them from breathing normally. Babies are especially susceptible to choking when they begin to explore solid foods or play with small objects during the weaning process. It is essential for parents to be aware of the signs and dangers of choking to prevent potential harm to their child.


When a baby is choking, they may exhibit the following signs and symptoms:

  • Inability to breathe, cry, or cough
  • Red or blue face and lips
  • signs of distress
  • Panicked or distressed expression

If your baby is under one year old and exhibits any of these signs, it is crucial to act quickly and effectively to prevent further harm. Knowing what to do in the event of a choking emergency can help you to remain calm and take the appropriate actions to ensure your baby’s safety.

What to do

If you suspect that your baby is choking, it is important to act quickly and take the following steps:

  1. Assess the situation: If the baby can breathe, cough or make noises, allow them to try and clear their own throat. If they are unable to clear the obstruction, move on to the next step.
  2. Give five sharp back blows: Lay the baby face down along your forearm and thigh, ensuring that you support their head and neck. Use the heel of your hand to deliver five sharp back blows between the shoulder blades.
  3. Check the mouth: Turn the baby over onto your thigh and check their mouth for any obvious obstructions. Avoid sweeping the mouth as this could push the object further down the throat.
  4. Give five chest thrusts: If back blows fail to clear the obstruction, give five chest thrusts with the baby facing upwards, making sure to support their head and neck. Place two fingers in the centre of their chest just below the nipple line and give five sharp chest thrusts. Children over 1 years old and adults give 5 abdominal thrusts.
  5. Call for emergency help: If the obstruction hasn’t cleared, call 999 or 112 for emergency help while keeping the baby with you.
  6. Repeat back blows and chest thrusts or abdominal thrusts for children over 1 or adults: Keep repeating five back blows and five chest thrusts until help arrives, checking the baby’s mouth each time.

If the baby or child becomes unresponsive at any point, be prepared to start baby CPR. Knowing what to do in a choking emergency can make all the difference in ensuring your baby’s safety and wellbeing.

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