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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Injuries and Wounds > Choking in the Conscious Child: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > First Aid

Choking in the Conscious Child

Alternate Names : Heimlich Maneuver for the Conscious Child, Obstructed Airway

Choking in the Conscious Child | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the injury?

If choking is suspected in a conscious child:

  • Nothing should be done if the child can still cough, breathe, or cry.
  • If the child is conscious, do not try to grasp any object lodged in the throat, because this may push it down further.
  • No first aid steps should be started until it is certain that the child is actually choking. If the child is actually choking, coughing and crying will be very weak or impossible, and the child's distress will be very obvious.
  • If the person performing first aid is alone, he or she should shout for help and begin first aid. If another person is there, he or she should contact the emergency medical system immediately.

    Performing the Heimlich maneuver with the child sitting or standing

  • Stand behind the child with arms wrapped around the waist.
  • Make a fist with one hand.
  • Place the thumb side of the fist against the child's abdomen just above the navel but well below the breastbone.
  • Grasp the fist with the other hand and press the fist into the child's abdomen with a quick upward thrust.
  • Give up to 5 upward thrusts. Repeat until the object pops out or the child becomes unconscious.
  • Each thrust should be a separate and distinct movement.
  • Performing the Heimlich maneuver with the child lying down

  • Place the child face up.
  • While kneeling, straddle the child's thighs. Place the heel of one hand against the child's abdomen in the middle, slightly above the navel and well below the breastbone.
  • Place the second hand directly on top of the first.
  • Press the abdomen with a quick upper thrust.
  • Do not try to remove an object from a conscious child's mouth. This could push the object further into the throat.

    If the child becomes unconscious, begin first aid for choking in the unconscious child.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    The Heimlich maneuver can cause vomiting, injuries to internal organs, or broken ribs. Vomiting can be a problem if the vomited material is caught in the airway and inhaled into the lungs.

    What happens after treatment for the injury?

    It is important for a child who has choked to obtain medical care from a healthcare professional. Occasionally, an object will enter the lung instead of being expelled. This can cause coughing, wheezing, or aspiration pneumonia.

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    Choking in the Conscious Child: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: James Broomfield, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/05/01

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