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Choking first aid - adult or child over 1 year - series—Part 4

Heimlich maneuver on conscious child


Performing first aid for a choking child is very similar to an adult. If the child does not clearly grab their throat other danger signs for a child and an adult include:

  • Inability to speak
  • Weak, ineffective coughing
  • Noisy breathing or high-pitched sounds while inhaling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Loss of consciousness if blockage is not cleared

1. Send someone to call 911 or your local emergency number.

2. Lean the child forward and make 5 blows to their back with the heel of your hand.

3. If this does not work, stand behind the child and wrap your arms around the child's waist.

4. Make a fist with one hand. Place the thumb side of your fist just above the child's navel, well below the breastbone.

Review Date 1/2/2023

Updated by: Jesse Borke, MD, CPE, FAAEM, FACEP, Attending Physician at Kaiser Permanente, Orange County, CA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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