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How to Do First Aid on a Choking Baby

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Assessing the Situation:-

Allow the baby to cough-If the baby is coughing or gagging, this means that their airway is only partially blocked, so they are not being completely deprived of oxygen. If this is the case, allow the baby to continue coughing, as coughing is the most effective way to clear any obstructions.

Look for symptoms of choking-If the baby is unable to cry or make noise, their airway is completely blocked and they will be unable to remove the obstruction by coughing.

  • Producing an odd, high-pitched sound or an inability to make any sound at all.
  • Clutching at the throat.
  • Skin turning bright red or blue.
  • Lips and fingernails turning blue.
  • Unconsciousness.

Do not attempt to remove the obstruction by hand-Whatever you do, do not attempt to remove the obstruction yourself by sticking your hand down the baby's throat. This may cause the object they become lodged more deeply, or damage the baby's throat.

Call local ambulance, if possible-Once you have ascertained that the baby is choking, your next step is to perform emergency first aid. If the baby is deprived of oxygen for too long they will lose consciousness and may suffer brain damage or even death.


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Performing First Aid on Babies Less Than Twelve Months Old:-

Position the baby correctly-When administering first aid to a baby younger than a year, it is important that you support the head and neck at all times. To get the baby in a safe, professionally-recommended position for administering first aid.

  • Slide one arm under the baby's back so that your hand is cradling their head and their back is resting against your forearm.
  • Place your other arm firmly along the baby's front, so there is sandwiched between your forearms. Use your top hand to securely grasp the baby's jaw between your thumb and fingers, without covering their airways.
  • Gently flip the baby onto their front, so they are now resting on the opposite forearm. Keep their head supported by the jaw.
  • Rest your arm against your thigh for added support and ensure that the baby's head is lower than the rest of her body. You are now in the correct position to perform back blows.

Perform five back blows-Back blows create pressure and vibration in the baby's airway, which is often enough to dislodge any stuck objects. To perform a back blow on a baby less than twelve months old:

  • Use the heel of your hand to firmly hit the baby on the back, between the shoulder blades. Ensure that you are adequately supporting the head as you do this.
  • Repeat this movement up to five times. If this does not dislodge the object, move on to performing chest thrusts.

Reposition the baby-Before you can perform a chest thrust, you will need to turn the baby over.

  • Place your free arm along the baby's back and cradle the back of her head in your hand.
  • Gently turn them over, keeping your other hand and arm firmly pressed against their front.
  • Lower the arm supporting the baby's back, so that it's resting against your thigh. Again, ensure that the baby's head is lower than the rest of her body.

Perform five chest thrusts-Chest thrusts force the air out of the baby's lungs, which may be enough to dislodge the object.

  • Place two or three fingertips in the centre of the baby's chest, just below their nipples.
  • Push inwards and upwards, applying enough pressure to compress the baby's chest about 1 1⁄2 inches (3.8 cm). Allow the baby's chest to return to its normal position before repeating up to five times.
  • When compressing the baby's chest, ensure that the movements are firm and controlled, rather than jerky. Your fingers should be in contact with the baby's chest at all times.

If the baby loses consciousness-perform modified CPR. If the baby becomes unresponsive and ambulance has still not arrived, you will need to perform modified CPR on the baby. Be aware that modified CPR is different from normal CPR, as it is tailored to be performed on small babies.


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Performing First Aid on Babies and Toddlers Older Than a Year:-

Administer five back blows-To give first aid to a child older than twelve months, sit or stand behind them and place an arm diagonally across their chest. Lean the child forward slightly, so they are resting against your arm. With the heel of your free hand, administer five firm and distinct blows to the child's back, directly between the shoulder blades. If this does not dislodge the object, move on to abdominal thrusts.

Administer five abdominal thrusts-An abdominal thrust also known as the Heimlich manoeuvre - works by forcing the air out of a person's lungs, in attempt to clear any obstructions from the airways. It is safe to perform on a child older than a year.

  • Stand or sit behind the choking child and wrap your arms around their waist.
  • Make a fist with one hand and place it firmly on the child's stomach, thumb side in, slightly above the belly button.
  • Wrap your other hand around the fist and deliver a quick upward and inward thrust to the child's abdomen. This motion should force air and any lodged objects out of the windpipe.
  • For smaller children, be careful not to thrust against the breastbone, as this could cause injury. Keep your hands just above the navel.
  • Repeat up to five times.

Repeat until the obstruction clears or the child starts coughing-If the child is still choking after five back blows and five abdominal thrusts, repeat the entire procedure again and continue to do so until the object becomes dislodged, the child starts coughing, crying or breathing, or ambulance arrives.

If the child becomes unresponsive, perform modified CPR-If the child still cannot breath and loses consciousness, you will need to perform modified CPR as quickly as possible.


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