Choking - Children over 1 year 

What to do if a child is choking 
 
The information below is no replacement for attending a first aid course where you will have the opportunity to practice your skills under the guidance of one of our qualified and experienced first aid instructors. 
 
Children, particularly those under the age of five, often put objects in their mouths. This is just one of the many ways they learn and explore the world. Some objects such as marbles or even food are just the right size to get stuck in a child’s airway. Choking happens when a person’s airway suddenly gets either partly or fully blocked which results in them not being able to breathe properly. 
 
Prevention is always better than cure so it’s best to avoid an incident occurring in the first place by making sure that small objects are kept out of reach of children. However, no matter how careful you are there is still a chance that your child may choke on something. 
 
In the event of your child choking, try these suggestions: 
Initially, try to remove the obstructive object if you can clearly see it. However, don’t poke blindly with your fingers; you could make things worse by pushing the object further down the victim’s throat. 
If your child is coughing loudly, encourage them to carry on coughing and don’t leave them unattended. 
If your child’s coughing is not effective (i.e. if they can’t breathe properly), shout for help immediately. 
As a last resort, if your child is still conscious but they’re either not coughing or their coughing is not effective, use back blows (see below). 
 
Choking – Child (over 1 year) 
 
Firstly, encourage the child to cough. If the choking is mild, this will clear the obstruction and the child should be able to speak to you. 
If the child is still choking, look inside the child’s mouth and removing any obvious blockage. Do not poke your fingers into the child’s mouth unless you can see and reach the blockage as you may push it further in. 
 
If the obstruction is not cleared: 
 
1. Back blows. 
Shout for help, but don’t leave the child unattended yet. 
Begin by leaning the child over your knee or bend them forwards so their head is lower than their chest. Gravity alone can often help to dislodge the object. 
If this doesn’t work, give them up to 5 firm blows between the shoulder blades with the palm of your hand. Check the victim between blows and stop if you clear the obstruction. 
 
If the obstruction is still not cleared: 
 
2. Abdominal thrusts 
Kneel or stand behind the child. Place both of your arms around their waist. 
Make a fist with one hand and place it just above the belly button (below the ribs) with your thumb inwards. Grasp this fist with your other hand. 
Thrust sharply inwards and upwards. Try this up to 5 times. Check between thrusts and stop if you clear the obstruction. 
 
NEVER perform abdominal thrusts on a baby under one year old. 
Abdominal thrusts can cause internal injuries so if this technique is used you must take the child to see a doctor immediately afterwards. 
 
If the obstruction is still not cleared: 
 
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 
Keep repeating steps 1 and 2 
If the treatment seems ineffective or after 3 cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts there is still no change in the victim’s condition, continue to shout for help and call 999, or get someone else to do it.