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Choking advice for parents

Choking baby

Choking child

Choking is when your airway gets blocked and you can’t breathe properly. This information is aimed at parents for treating choking babies and young children, the information is different for adults.

Young children are more likely to choke than adults, because they often put small objects in their mouths that they may breathe in and get stuck.

If a child or baby is choking they’ll get upset quickly and you need to act fast to clear what’s stuck. If they can’t cough or make any noise, it’s serious.

When someone chokes, the airway can either be partly or fully blocked. If it’s a mild blockage, they should be able to clear it themselves by coughing.

If it’s a severe blockage, they won’t be able to cough so without anyone’s help they’ll lose responsiveness before this happens you can help - see the links at the bottom of the page.

If they do lose responsiveness, their throat muscles could relax and open the airway enough for you to give rescue breaths ‒ be prepared to give rescue breaths and chest compressions if this happens.

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