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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 1/12/2019

Updated by: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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