Choking in the Conscious Infant
Alternate Names : Obstructed Airway
What are the treatments for the injury?
If choking is suspected in a conscious infant:
Nothing should be done if the infant can still cough, breathe, or cry.
If the infant 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 infant is
actually choking. If the infant is actually choking, coughing and crying will
be very weak or impossible, and the infant'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 local
emergency medical services.
First aid in the choking infant includes the following steps:
Lay the infant face down along the forearm with the baby's head lower than
its body. The lap can be used to support the baby.
With the infant lying face down, use the heel of the hand to give 5 sharp
blows to the back between the shoulder blades.
The infant is then turned over, again keeping the head lower than the body.
Two fingers are placed on the breastbone just below the nipple line, and 5
thrusts are given. Depress the breastbone one half to one inch each time.
This series of 5 back blows and 5 chest thrusts is continued until the
airway is cleared or until the child loses consciousness.
If the child does lose consciousness, the procedures for choking in the unconscious infant should be followed.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Back blows and chest thrusts 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
What happens after treatment for the injury?
It is important to obtain medical care from a
healthcare professional for an infant who has choked. Occasionally, an object will enter the lung instead
of being expelled. This can cause
coughing, wheezing, or aspiration pneumonia.