Choking is one of those things that can happen to anyone at any time. Knowing how to react when someone is choking is key to saving their life. Thankfully, a good many people are aware of the Heimlich maneuver and other techniques which can dislodge obstructions from an adult’s throat.
Unfortunately, knowledge of how to deal with a choking child is not as widespread. Young children are naturally inquisitive and often want to put their new ‘discoveries’ in their mouth to learn more about it. Children can choke on food, just like adults, but it’s far more likely that they will choke on toy parts and other objects. It is therefore sensible to take precautions against them choking. Their food should be appropriate for their age – the younger a child is, the softer and easier to chew it should be. It is also prudent to keep children away from objects which they could potentially choke on.
This last piece of advice, of course, is easier said than done. There are a million things which children could potentially choke on, and it’s impossible to keep them away from all of them. It is, therefore, inevitable, that a number of children will choke each year. In these cases, it’s up to you and others to know how to react properly in order to clear the blockage.
Wherever available, you should sign up for a child CPR course. These may be provided by your employer, support groups, or in public workshops. It is important to thoroughly learn CPR step-by-step. As with any emergency situation, only training which has been rigorously practiced is of any use. If you’re unsure, or can’t remember exactly what to do, you’re likely to freeze or make the situation worse.
If a baby is choking, you should lay them face down on your upper leg and hold their head up with one hand. With the other hand, strike the child’s back five times to dislodge the obstruction. If this fails, turning the child over and administering five, two-fingered thrusts to the chest. If five rounds of back blows and three of chests thrusts don’t work, call for emergency medical help right away. For older children, hold up their abdomen from behind and strike between the shoulder blades five times. Using your fist to thrust inward and upwards may also help. If this doesn’t work, call for emergency help immediately.
Perhaps watching these videos will provide a clearer picture: