First Aid For Choking

First Aid for Choking (infants):

We hope you are never put in the situation of saving your child’s life, but it could happen.

As you may already be aware, children are very good at testing their physical limits only to get themselves caught in dangerous situations. Choking on food or any small and appealing item is a daily worry as a parent. You may only have two seconds to respond and provide first aid, not giving you enough time to phone or search the internet for advice. As a parent, you should find confidence in educating yourself on how to recognise choking and save a life.

There are different levels of a child choking:

Partial Obstruction:the child could be coughing, gasping, or gripping the throat to indicate discomfort. Breathing may be noisy and laboured; however escaped air can be felt from the child’s mouth.

Managing Partial Obstruction:

  1. Encourage the child to stay calm, lean forward, take breathes and cough it out.
  2. Do not hit the child’s back with partial instruction. Reassure them it is okay and encourage them to cough.

Complete Obstruction: the child cannot talk, cough, breathe or cry. They map grip their throat to communicate discomfort and they will look and act distressed.


Managing Complete Obstruction:

  1. Dial 000
  2.  Place your infant in a head downwards position across the rescuers lap/knee. Give five back blows. This can be done with the heel of the hand in an upward action in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades. Check between each back blow to see if the obstruction in the throat has moved or been dislodged. Young children and adults may be treated in a sitting or standing position.
  3. Turn your infant over so they are lying across the rescuers lap, keeping their head lower than their chest. Give five chest thrusts. To perform chest thrusts, identify the same compression point as for CPR and give up to five chest thrusts. These are similar to chest compressions but sharper and delivered at a slower rate. Young children and adults may be treated in a sitting or standing position.
  4. If the obstruction does not clear, keep alternating between back blows and chest thrusts.
  5. Be prepared to perform CPR if the victim losses consciousness. After delivering 30 chest compressions check the child’s throat for an obstruction. If you can see it, try and dislodge it before providing two rescue breaths. If you do not see the child’s chest rise, provide another 30 chest compressions immediately. Continue CPR until medical help arrives.unnamed (1)


Choking Hazards for Children:

  •  Coin sized shaped meats, such as sausage
  • Fish with bones
  • Popcorn and chips with sharp edges
  • Whole grapes, raw vegetables, fruits with skin
  • All nuts
  • Peanut Butter in spoonful’s or on soft white bread
  • Ice cubes
  • Cheese Cubes
  • Latex Balloons
  • Coins and Marbles
  • Small balls
  • Pen lids Page
  • Button batteries
  • Screws and nails
  • Bean bag balls
  • Rings and Earrings
  • Erasers

Keep in mind that a small child’s trachea (windpipe) or breathing tube is approximately the size of a drinking straw in diameter.

This article was supplied by Australia Wide First Aid.

Australia Wide First Aid is a nationally recognised training organisation, providing the Australian community with accredited first aid training and quality first aid supplies. When you partner with Australia Wide First Aid, you can be confident that your first aid solutions will be delivered in a professional, efficient and friendly manner. This article was researched and created for the purpose of first aid information. It should not be used in place of advice from qualified health professionals.


1. Australia Wide First Aid’s Online Manual
2. Australian and New Zealand Resuscitation Guidelines
3. Department of Health NYC: Choking Prevention for Children

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