British Red Cross first aid Q&A

British Red Cross first aid Q&A

The British Red Cross often gets asked questions about choking as the subject causes a great deal of apprehension. Gurgle investigates some of the most commonly asked ones

 791

Questions & Answers

How can I tell if a baby is choking?

If a baby is choking, they will be unable to cry, cough, make any other noise or breathe.

Why do I have to hold my baby with its head lower than its bottom?

With babies, the blockage is often a liquid (milk curdle or mucous) so ensuring the head is lower than the bottom helps the liquid to drain out – gravity will lend a helping hand.

Why do I have to support the head?

Supporting the head will help to keep the airway open, helping to facilitate the dislodging of the object from the baby’s airway.

How hard should the back blows be?

You should modify the force of the back blows depending on the size of the baby, so you need to be gentler with a smaller baby than you are with a larger baby. The force with which you deliver the back blows should also be relative to your own strength. However, keep in mind that the most common problem with choking injuries is people not delivering back blows with enough force. They need to be hard enough to cause a vibration in the windpipe and dislodge the object.

Can I do abdominal thrusts (Heimlich manoeuvre) on a baby?

No, don’t squeeze a baby’s tummy. Abdominal thrusts are used to treat choking in children and adults only. Using abdominal thrusts on a baby could cause further damage as their internal organs are fragile and still developing.

If my baby is choking, should I hang them upside down by their feet?

No, this is not effective and may cause further injury if you happen to drop them. Tipping them upside down may also embed the object further.

Should I try to pull the object out with my fingers?

We do not recommend putting your fingers blindly into the mouth to try and remove any foreign object. You risk pushing the object further down the throat or actually damaging the soft tissue at the back of the throat, which is extremely sensitive and so could swell and cause further damage. However, if you can clearly see an object in a baby's mouth and you are able to pluck it out safely with your finger tips, you could do so.

 This is a promotional feature

red cross logo small

Have a look at our article What to do if my child is choking?, for more advice.

To find out more baby and child first aid fast tips, look at redcross.org.uk

RELATED ARTICLES

Related Articles

Find the sport perfect for your tot
Baby
Find the sport perfect for your tot
Find the sport perfect for your tot Getting active is important for all...
Parents, 'teach your kids to dial 999'
Safety & First aid
Parents, 'teach your kids to dial 999'
Parents, 'teach your kids to dial 999'  Could your child save a life? Most...
Four mums on baby weight
You and your body
Four mums on baby weight
Four mums on tackling the baby weight Wonder if you'll ever get back in your...
Parenting rules: What worked for us
Parenting
Parenting rules: What worked for us
Parenting rules: What worked for us Ever wondered what goes on at home with the...

email block

recipe-doughnut-flatlayRecipes & Food

Recipe: Doughnut flatlay

Make Caroline Khoo's iced temptations
what-is-a-cervical-stitchPregnancy

What is a cervical stitch?

Find out here what it involves to have a cervical stitch procedure.
celebrity-mums-swap-pregnancies-storiesCelebrity & Lifestyle

Celebrity mums swap pregnancies stories

Facial hair? Embarrassing wind? Out-of-control emotions? These celebs have been there too, says Rebecca Howard Dennis
win-a-mee-go-trio-worth-165Win

Win a Mee-go Trio worth £165!

Say yes to new adventures…
win-two-hip-healthy-groswaddles-from-the-safe-sleep-experts-the-gro-companyWin

Win two Hip Healthy Groswaddles from the safe sleep experts The Gro Company!

Swaddling your baby can sometimes be tricky (especially after a sleepless night). Usually you end up with lots of fabric...