Choking: Emergency First Aid Treatment for Adult, Child and Baby

Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air. In adults, a piece of food often is the culprit. Young children often swallow small objects. Because choking cuts off oxygen to the brain, administer first aid as quickly as possible.

If choking is occurring, the British Red Cross recommends a “five-and-five” approach to delivering first aid:

Choking (Adult)

Recognition and Symptoms of a Choking Adult

The main symptom of choking is difficulty in speaking and breathing. There may be:Congested face and neck initially as well as distress.

Later:

Grey-blue skin

Precautions to Take During a Choke

If the casualty becomes unconscious, be prepared to resuscitate if necessary.

Actions to Take During a Choke

  • Give up to five back slaps
  • Hold casualty from behind
  • Give up to five abdominal thrusts

Repeat entire sequence until obstruction clears.

Emergency First Aid Treatment for Choking Adult

Here are the step-by-step procedures to follow in Emergency First Aid Treatment for choking:

  1. Give Up To Five Back Slaps
  • Ask the casualty to cough, but do not waste time.
  • Bend the casualty forwards.
  • Give up to five sharp slaps between the shoulder blades with the flat of your hand.

If choking persists, go to step 2.

  1. Hold Casualty From Behind
  • Stand behind the casualty.
  • Put your arms around him; put one fist below his ribcage.
  1. Give Up To Five Abdominal Thrusts
  • Link your hands and pull sharply inwards and upwards

Repeat Entire Sequence

  • Continue alternating back slaps and abdominal thrusts until the obstruction clears.

Choking (Child)

Recognition and Symptoms of a Choking Child

  • Difficulty in speaking and breathing
  • Flushed face and neck
  • Distress

Later:

  • Grey-blue skin

Precautions to Take During a Choke

  • Do not feel blindly down the throat.
  • If the child becomes unconscious, be ready to resuscitate if necessary.

Actions to Take During a Choke

  • Give up to five back slaps
  • Give up to five chest thrusts
  • Continue to Give up to five back slaps
  • Give up to five abdominal thrusts
  • Call ambulance and repeat entire sequence.

Emergency First Aid Treatment for Choking Child

  1. Give Up To Five Back Slaps
  • Bend the child forwards.
  • Give up to five sharp slaps between his shoulders with one hand.
  • Check his mouth: hook out any obvious obstruction.
  1. Give Up To Five Chest Thrusts
  • If back slaps fail, stand or kneel behind the child.
  • Make a fist and place it against his lower breastbone.
  • Grasp it with your other hand and press into the chest with a sharp inward thrust up to five times, at a rate of about one every three seconds.
  1. Give Up To Five Back Slaps
  • Check his mouth.
  • If choking persists, give up to five back slaps.
  • Check his mouth again, and go to step 4 if needed.
  1. Give Up To Five Abdominal Thrusts
  • Make a fist and place it against the child’s central upper abdomen.
  • Grasp your fist with your other hand and press with a sharp upward thrust up to five times.
  • Check his mouth, and proceed to step 5 if needed.
  1. Dial 999 For Ambulance
  • Repeat the cycle of back slaps and chest and abdominal thrusts until help arrives.

Choking (Baby)

Recognition and Symptoms of a Choking Child

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Flushed face and neck
  • Strange noises or no sound

Later:

  • Grey-blue skin

Precautions to Take During Choking

  • Do not feel blindly down the throat.
  • Do not use abdominal thrusts on a baby.
  • If at any stage the obstruction clears, or the baby becomes unconscious, begin resuscitation.

Actions to Take During  a Choke

  • Give up to five back slaps
  • Check baby’s mouth
  • Give up to five chest thrusts
  • Repeat entire sequence and call ambulance.

Emergency First Aid Treatment for Choking Baby

  1. Give Up To Five Back Slaps
  • Lay the baby face down along your forearm, keeping his head low.
  • Give up to five sharp slaps on his back.
  • Turn the baby face up on your arm or lap.
  1. Check Baby’s Mouth
  • Use one finger to remove any obvious obstruction, without touching the baby’s throat.
  • If back slaps have failed, proceed to next step.
  1. Give Up To Five Chest Thrusts
  • Place two fingertips on the lower half of the baby’s breastbone one finger’s breadth below the nipples.
  • Give up to five sharp thrusts into the chest.
  • Check his mouth again.
  1. Repeat Entire Sequence
  • Repeat steps 1-3 three times.
  • If the obstruction has not cleared, take the baby with you to Dial 999 for ambulance.
  • Repeat steps 1-3 until help arrives.

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