Choking child

Watch our video - how to help a child who is choking

What to look for - Choking child

If you think a child is choking, ask them: ‘Are you choking?’ to check they’re actually choking, not suffering from something else. Can they speak, cry, cough or breathe? If not, they could be choking.

Choking child - what you need to do

1. Cough it out

  • Encourage them to cough it out. If that doesn't work, try to slap it out.

2. Slap it out

If coughing doesn't work:

• Help the child bend forward and use the heel of your hand to give up to five sharp back blows between their shoulder blades.

• Check their mouth to see if there’s anything in there. If there is, get them to pick it out themselves.

3. Squeeze it out

If the back blows don't work, try giving them up to five abdominal thrusts:

• To do this, stand behind the child, making sure they are bending well forward.

• Link your hands between their tummy button and the bottom of their chest, with your lower hand clenched in a fist.

• Then pull sharply inwards and upwards.

If they're still choking call 999 or 112 for an ambulance.

• Once you’ve called an ambulance, continue steps 2 ‘ Slap it out’ and 3 ‘Squeeze it out’ until what’s in there has cleared, help arrives or they become unresponsive.

• If they become unresponsive at any stage, open their airway and check their breathing. If they’re not breathing, start CPR - cardiopulmonary resuscitation to try to release whatever’s stuck in there. Follow the instructions for someone who's unresponsive and not breathing.

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