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What to Do If Your Baby Chokes

Choking on solid foods and other objects is especially dangerous for your baby. You will need to respond quickly. Follow these steps from the American Heart Association:

  • While sitting or kneeling, hold your baby face down on your forearm. Use your hand to support his head and jaw.
  • Use the heel of your hand to give five back slaps. These back slaps should be between your baby's shoulder blades.
  • If after five back slaps, the object does not come out, place your baby on his back. Use two fingers to give five chest thrusts on your baby's breastbone. (See image below.)
  • Switch between giving five back slaps and five chest thrusts. Continue doing this until the object comes out and your baby is able to breathe.
  • If your baby becomes unresponsive, you will need to do CPR. If you are with someone, have that person call 911 right away while you do the CPR steps. Do 30 chest compressions, then check to see if the object can be removed from the mouth. If you see the object, remove it. Give two breaths and continue with cycles of chest compressions and breaths for two minutes. If you are alone at this point, then call for help.

Chest Thrusts
How To Save a Choking Victim\JPG\Choking 2b .jpg
Chest thrusts are done if the object does not come out after five back slaps.

The American Heart Association offers infant CPR and other first aid classes. By educating yourself, you can keep your baby's meal time safe. It is also a good idea to make sure that everyone who cares for your baby knows CPR and first aid, as well.

  • American Heart Association


  • March of Dimes


  • Canadian Paediatric Society


  • Health Canada


  • Choking: first aid. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-choking/FA00025. Updated October 13, 2011. Accessed July 16, 2012.

  • Berg MD, Schexnayder SM, Chameides L, Terry M, Donoghue A, Hickey RW, Berg RA, Sutton RM, Hazinski MF. Pediatric basic life support: 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Pediatrics. 2010 Nov;126(5):e1345-60.