Steps To Take If Your Child Is Choking

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After the tragic death of a two-year-old boy who choked on a grape in Pizza Hut, guidance has been re-issued on how to act when a child has something stuck in their throat.

Between the ages of one to five, children often put objects in their mouth which is a totally normal way for them to explore the world. Small objects such as coins, marbles and beads are just the right size to get stuck in a child’s airway and cause choking. It’s important to keep small objects such as these out of your little ones way, however mishaps do happen and you need to be able to help your child if it does.


In the majority of cases, you may see your child actually swallow the object that causes choking. However if you don’t and if your child begins to cough for no apparent reason such as being ill, there’s a chance that they are choking.

Tips to help a choking child

  • If you are able to see the object your child is choking on, try to remove it. Do not poke the object with your fingers as you make matters worse by pushing the object further which will make it harder to remove.
  • If your child is coughing loudly, encourage them to carry on coughing and don’t leave them alone.
  • If the coughing is not effective, shout for help immediately and check whether they are still conscious.
  • If he or she is still conscious but not coughing effectively use back blows
  • Give the child up to five back slaps. Hit them firmly on their back between the shoulder blades. If back slaps do not displace the object, you will need to perform abdominal thrusts.
  • Give the child up to five abdominal thrusts. Hold the child around the waist and pull upwards and inwards above their belly button. If abdominal thrusts do not dislodge the object, go back to back blows and then perform abdominal thrusts once again.
  • Call out or send for help if the object has not dislodged after three cycles of back slaps and abdominal thrusts, but do not leave the child alone.

Even if the object has come out, you will need to get medical help. Part of the object might have been left behind, or your child might have been hurt by the procedure.

St John Ambulance put together a short video for how to treat a choking baby:

Via YouTube

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