Emergency advice

Choking baby:

  1. Slap it out - 5 back blows.
  2. Squeeze it out - 5 sharp chest thrusts.
  3. Check their mouth.
  4. Call 999 & repeat the actions.

What is choking?

When a baby is choking, their airway is partly or completely blocked, meaning that they may be unable to breathe properly. As you start weaning your baby and they begin eating solid foods or playing with small objects, they may be at risk of choking.

Signs and symptoms

A choking baby may:

  • be unable to breathe, cry, or cough
  • have a red puffy face
  • show signs of distress.

If your baby is under one year old this advice will help you to know what to do if they choke.

What to do

If you think the baby is choking then they need your help straight away. If they can breathe, are making noises, or coughing, then they may be able to clear their own throat.

  1. Baby choking - give five sharp back blows

    Slap it out. If the baby cannot breathe, cry, or cough, they may be choking and you will need to give five back blows.

    Lay the baby face down along your forearm and thigh, making sure you support their head and neck. Give five sharp back blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.

  2. Baby choking - check their mouth

    Turn them over on your thigh and check their mouth. Pick out any obvious obstructions you can see with your fingertips.

    • Do not sweep the mouth as this could push the object further down the throat.
  3. Baby choking - give five sharp chest thrusts

    Squeeze it out. If back blows fail to clear obstruction, give five chest thrusts with your baby facing upwards, making sure you’re supporting their head and neck. Put two fingers in the centre of their chest just below the nipple line and give five sharp chest thrusts.

    Check their mouth again, each time.

  4. First aid - call 999 or 112 for emergency help

    Call 999 or 112 for emergency help if the obstruction hasn't cleared. Take the baby with you to make the call.

    Keep repeating five back blows and five chest thrusts until help arrives, checking their mouth each time.

    • If the baby becomes unresponsive at any point, prepare to start baby CPR.
Did you find this information helpful?

Related first aid advice

How to do CPR on a baby (under one year old)

If a baby is not responding to you and not breathing normally, you will need to call 999 or 112 for emergency help and start CPR straight away. Learn what to do.

Choking child

When a child is choking, their airway is partly or completely blocked, meaning that they may be unable to breathe properly. Find out what to do.

Choking adult

When someone is choking, they may be unable to breathe properly. Find out what to look for and what to do.

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