Choking:First Aid-Mom must know

It is recommended to moms that it is always better to know first aids for children. Don’t wait for the last minute and regret.

When your baby starts crawling it’s a common problem that they pick up with those tiny cute fingers something or everything what they see and place them in to their mouth. Some babies even eat poops, what’s the better way to explore them right!

  1. Non-food items like coins, earrings, rings, small caps of bottles, pins, papers, tissue paper, button batteries etc. are some items. Dangerous items are sharp, pointed objects like tooth picks, nails, and pins
  2. Batteries as they contain chemicals
  3. Coins and magnets
  4. Poisonous objects
  5. Pills/tablets

How to know if baby have swallowed objects?

In half cases there will be no symptoms and the object may come through faeces or stool without harming stomach or intestine within 3 days. Checkout for the object in every stool passed. if it doesn’t come out see the doctor.

Children may not have symptoms initially following foreign body ingestion, especially when the parent does not know that foreign body ingestion has occurred. Later stomach distension, nausea, vomiting may be seen; in this case see the doctor. Paper, tissues may stick to the palate (upper part of the children’s mouth and there is a high chance that we won’t see it, So always check.

Don’t ever try to remove the object in upper wind pipe by finger sweep; it may result in pushing back the object in to the airway.

Emergency situation is when the object gets struck in the babies/children airway causing

  • choking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • gagging
  • Cyanosis (turns blue)

Other situation is when object gets struck in food pipe/oesophagus. Symptoms include:

  • gagging
  • vomiting
  • drooling
  • breathing difficulty
  • Food refusal
  • Difficulty swallowing

See the doctor.

Your doctor will take x rays. If the object is radio opaque it will show where the object is. Endoscopic removal of foreign body is done.

What to do when baby/child swallowed /ate foreign object?

Don’t panic

Don’t ever try to remove the object in upper wind pipe by finger sweep; it may result in pushing back the object in to the airway. See the doctor if the condition is above said emergency as soon as possible

If you have seen the doctor and were told not to worry but the following occur:

  1. The stools are being checked and the foreign body hasn’t passed in 3 days.
  2. Abdominal pain, vomiting, or bloody stools develop in the next 2 weeks

Then call him again.

Different methods are used for clearing up the foreign body

1. Back blows and chest thrusts for babies

Hold the baby face down on your fore arm, which in turn should rest on your thigh. Support the head of the child by firmly holding the jaw. Deliver up to 5 blows with heel of your hand between the shoulders of your baby.

If your baby can’t breathe, or it’s clear this method is not working, gently flip your baby on to his/her back. Trace an imaginary line between your baby’s nipples. Place two fingers, one finger width below the line, then give 4-5 short thrusts pushing no deeper than an inch. You may alternate between techniques.

Continue this series of 5 back blows and 5 chest thrusts until the object is dislodged.

2. Heimlich Maneuver

This is done in children older than 1 year. This maneuver is not used in babies for the risk of liver injuries. It is carried out differently for conscious and unconscious children

Conscious child

  • First ask, “Are you choking? Can you speak?” DO NOT perform first aid if the person is coughing forcefully and able to speak — a strong cough can dislodge the object.
  • Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around the person’s waist.
  • Make a fist with one hand. Place the thumb side of your fist just above the person’s navel, well below the breastbone.
  • Grasp the fist with your other hand.
  • Make quick, upward and inward thrusts with your fist.
  • Continue these thrusts until the object is dislodged or the victim loses consciousness

Unconsious child

Position the child in a supine position and kneel at the child’s feet. Place the heel of ones hand on the child’s abdomen in the midline slightly above navel and well below the rib cage. Place the second hand on top of first and press into abdomen with quick upward thrust.

After removing the object that caused the choking, keep the child still and get medical help. Anyone who is choking should have a medical examination. Complications can occur not only from the choking, but also from the first aid measures that were taken. So better practice at home first so that you can act the right way when needed.

The danger signs of true choking are:

  • Inability to cry or make much sound
  • Weak, ineffective coughing
  • Soft or high-pitched sounds while inhaling
  • Difficulty breathing – ribs and chest retract
  • Bluish skin color
  • Loss of consciousness if blockage is not cleared


  • DO NOT interfere if the infant is coughing forcefully, has a strong cry, or is breathing adequately. However, be ready to act if the symptoms worsen.
  • DO NOT try to grasp and pull out the object if the infant is conscious.
  • DO NOT perform these steps if the infant stops breathing for other reasons, such as asthma, infection, swelling, or a blow to the head.

If at any time your baby begins to change colour from lack of air, immediately call the doctor and shout for help. If you are the only person present, first give two breathes, then call doc and continue.

To give breaths, lay your baby on his/her back, then tilt her/his head back slightly and cover their nose and mouth with your mouth. Breathe into your baby until you see your baby’s chest rise, then allow the air out, and repeat. If your baby’s chest doesn’t rise with your breaths, try repositioning the head tilt. If you’re still not seeing signs air is getting in, perform 30 chest compressions.

It is recommended you take classes or see videos in YouTube to be well versed in both. It’s always better to know first aid .Don’t wait for the last minute and regret. And don’t forget to check the floors every time when you place your baby. Keep those non-food items out of their reach as much as possible.


What’s the weirdest thing your baby has ever eaten?

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I'm Dr Shahana

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