Choking is often easily treatable yet it remains a leading cause of fatalities in children. Learning some basic first aid skills can make a difference, and could even save a child’s life in an emergency.

Initial Check


Establish that the child is choking through their inability to speak, watery eyes, pale complexion and evidence at the scene. Keep calm and reassure others around you at the same time.

Now encourage the child to cough and check the mouth for a visible obstruction. Pull the object out if it is close to the lips but do not sweep your fingers inside the mouth, which could push the object further down the airway.

Back Blows


Deliver five sharp back blows between the middle of the shoulder blades with the child facing away from you, and tilted slightly forward. Keep one eye on the child's face to see if the object clears or if they vomit.

Perform a check after vomiting as the object may have travelled out

Abdominal Thrusts


Check to see if the child is still choking after the initial five back blows. If they are still choking kneel / crouch down and turn the child facing away from you, whilst tilting slightly forwards. 

Next clench one fist under the diaphragm  with the other resting on top and push and pull upwards five times which has the effect of lifting air upwards to help displace the object. 

Check to see if the child is still choking after the five abdominal thrusts. If so dial 999 / 112 stating your location and that a child is choking. Then repeat the cycle of back blows & abdominal thrusts until the object clears or when medical assistance tells you to stop.