Signs of Choking
Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in a person’s throat or windpipe. This is a serious condition because choking can cut off the air supply to the brain. Most often, when adults choke, it is because of a piece of food. A choking child over 1 year old may have been putting small objects in their mouth.
The following signs of choking are universal and apply for both children and adults. Check if your child:
- Cannot talk
- Cannot breathe or is having a hard time breathing
- Is making squeaking sounds when attempting to breathe
- Is coughing, whether the cough is weak or forceful
- Has skin, lips and/or nails that are turning blue or dusky
- Has flushed, pale or bluish skin
- Is losing consciousness
First Aid for a Choking Baby
If your baby is under 1 year old, here are the steps you must do immediately:
- Hold the baby face down on your thigh. Make sure that their head is positioned lower than their bottom. Give five blows on the baby’s back between the shoulder blades. Back blows apply vibrations and pressure to the baby’s airway. Ensure that you are supporting their head and that the blows are firm. If this move does not successfully remove the foreign object, proceed to the second step.
- Turn the baby over to face upwards and place two fingers in the center of their chest below their nipples. Give the choking baby five chest thrusts. Make sure to push downwards in a sharp manner. Chest thrusts work to press air out of the baby’s lungs to dislodge the object.
- If chest thrusts do not work, call your area’s emergency hotline number. While waiting for emergency help to arrive, continue doing cycles of back blows and chest thrusts, especially if the baby becomes unresponsive.
Remember never to put your fingers in the baby’s mouth, as this might push the obstruction even further into the airway.
First Aid for a Choking Child Over 1 Year Old
If you have a child over 1 year old who appears to be choking, the first step always is to make sure that he or she is, in fact, choking.
If the child is speaking forcefully or talking, the child is not choking. Immediately ask your child: “Are you choking?” If the child nods, tell your child you will help. Refrain from panicking. Call your local emergency hotline while you perform the Heimlich maneuver. To do this, carry out the following steps to help your choking child over 1 year old: