Always bear in mind that there is no substitute for proper training when saving an infant from choking. Nevertheless, emergencies can occur without warning. If an infant below 1 year old is choking, there are vital steps to be familiar with. Being prepared to help out a choking child is a life-saving measure that can help save a life.
Always stay safe
It is important to observe the universal precautions and utilize personal protective gear and equipment if available.
Quick assessment of the infant
In case the infant cannot cry or cough, he/she is probably choking. Ask someone else to call for emergency assistance. If no one is around to call for emergency assistance, you have to perform chest thrusts for 2 minutes before stopping to call for help. If you believe that the infant is experiencing an allergic reaction, call for emergency assistance right away.
In case the infant is able to cry or cough, he/she is able to breath. You still have to call for emergency assistance and closely monitor the infant. If the infant suddenly stops crying or coughing and cannot seem to breath, perform chest thrusts.
Deliver 5 blows to the back
Position the infant face down on your arm. Hold the head of the infant using your hand to keep his/her neck straight. The legs of the infant should be straddling your arm close to the elbow.
Lean the infant down at an angle in which the head is lower than his/her waist. Using the heel of your other hand; strike the area in between the shoulder blades 5 times.
Deliver 5 chest thrusts
Roll the infant from one arm to the other so that he/she is laying face up. You have to keep the head cradled in your hand and the legs straddling the arm. Make sure that you are holding the infant at an angle with his/her head low and deliver 5 chest thrusts. Utilize 2 fingers over the breast bone right between the nipples. Push down about an inch for 5 times.
Inspect the mouth of the infant
You have to check if there is something inside the mouth of the infant and pull it out. Otherwise, keep the fingers from of the baby’s mouth and perform back blows and chest thrusts again. Continue doing this until the baby ejects the lodged object. In case the baby becomes unconscious, start infant CPR. After 2 minutes of attempting to dislodge the object, call for emergency assistance and continue trying.
Useful tips to bear in mind
When asking for someone else to call for emergency assistance, you have to make sure that you will inform them why they are calling. If not, they might not inform the operator what is exactly going on. In case the operator knows that the infant is not breathing or responding, the operator might be able to provide instructions to help.