Food or small objects can cause choking if they get caught in your throat and block your airway. This keeps oxygen from getting to your lungs and brain. If your brain goes without oxygen for more than four minutes, you could have brain damage or die.
Young children are at an especially high risk of choking. They can choke on foods like hot dogs, nuts and grapes, and on small objects like toy pieces and coins. Keep hazards out of their reach and supervise them when they eat.
When someone is choking, quick action can be lifesaving. Learn how to do back blows, the Heimlich maneuver (abdominal thrusts), and CPR.
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Choking and Strangulation Prevention Tips (Safe Kids Worldwide)
- Choking Prevention (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
- Choosing Safe Toys (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Household Safety: Preventing Choking (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Infant Choking: How to Keep Your Baby Safe (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
Treatments and Therapies
- Adult First Aid/CPR/AED Ready Reference (American Red Cross) - PDF
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): First Aid (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Choking: What to Do for an Infant (American College of Emergency Physicians)
- Emergency airway puncture - slideshow (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- First Aid: Choking (Nemours Foundation)
- Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED Ready Reference (American Red Cross) - PDF
- Responding to a Choking Emergency (Academic Pediatric Association)
- Choking first aid - adult or child over 1 year - slideshow (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Choking first aid - infant under 1 year - slideshow (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish