First Aid for Choking – How to Treat an Infant and an Older Child

Search Entire Website
children can pack their own healthy picnic treats

First Aid When Child Is Choking.

Most important when a child is choking.

  1. Call an ambulance if the child is not able to cough or cannot breathe.
  2. If breathing, make sure the child is learning slightly forward, tell the child to cough and encourage the child to keep coughing
  3. Do not reach into the child’s mouth unless the object can be seen to pull it out easily (blind finger sweeps of the mouth risks pushing the object in more deeply).
  4. Treatment is necessary when a child does not have an effective or strong cough to force the object out.

Treating an infant

An infant or small child – who is small enough to be held – should be treated in the following way:

  • Holding the child across your thigh with head held lower than the chest, deliver up to five sharp back blows with the heel of one hand in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades (unless the object comes out before five are completed).
  • If this does not work turn the child over and deliver up to five sharp chest thrusts to the breastbone with the child on their back, until the object comes out.
  • If this does not work, repeat the back blows and chest thrusts until the object comes out.

But should the child become unconscious then CPR must be started immediately.

The NZ Red Cross, Essential First Aid Manual (2017, p. 30) provides a clear illustration of the appropriate actions to take (the illustration is reproduced below, with permission).

report on toddler redcross.pic2

Treating a Bigger Child and Providing First Aid When Choking

A bigger child can be held standing and leaning slightly forward and treated in the following way:

  • Between the shoulder blades deliver up to five sharp back blows with the heel of one hand in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades.
  • If the object does not come out then give up to five chest thrusts. Do this with the child in front of you, wrap your arms around their chest and make a fist with one hand. Place one fist, thumb side, against the middle of the breastbone. Grasp the fist with the other hand. Give a quick inward thrust.
  • Keep repeating five back blows then five chest thrusts until the object comes out.
  • Should the child become unconscious then start CPR immediately.

References

Learn more about resuscitation ANZCOR Guideline 2016, No. 4 – Airway.  

NZ Red Cross (2017). Essential first aid manual.  Wellington, NZ: NZ Red Cross.

Find out what steps must be taken by early childhood services to reduce the risk of food-related choking.  

Has this been useful?  Give us your feedback.

You are welcome to add a link to this page on your website. Copyright belongs to the OECE so please do not copy any content without our written permission.

Information provided is of a general nature. It is provided ‘as is’, and we accept no liability for its accuracy or completeness. See our Terms and Conditions.

Related Posts

many colours of paint concept for early childhood sector groups and early childhood education system

Who is Who in our Sector

Early Childhood Education System. The Stakeholders and Key Organisations Peak Bodies / Largest ECE Service Operators Operators of more than 400 licensed services in our

Read More »
early childhood research journal online

Early Childhood Education: Fracture Lines of Social Context and Neural Development

Early childhood education: Fracture lines of social context and neural development. John A. Clark. Massey University, NZ. Full reference: Clark, J.A. (2015). Early childhood education: Fracture lines of social context and neural development. NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 18, 80 […]

Read More »
managers and owners need some tender loving care too

Caring for Yourself When Managing or Leading an ECE Service/s

Caring for yourself when managing a service or in the role of a leader. And, the responsibilities that owners and governance committees must meet in regard to supporting the manager and leaders.  Introduction There seems to be the perception and […]

Read More »
shopping room

How Services Aim to Improve their Financial Outlook

Financial Improvement of ECE Services Following Covid-19 Lockdowns. On this page you can find out what centres and home-based services are doing in respect of: fees,staffing,ways that they are cutting back on spending (or not),marketing approaches and new markets being […]

Read More »
Early childhood education financial and money matters

Maximising 20-Hours ECE Funding Around Public Holidays

20-Hours ECE Changes. When a service is closed for statutory holidays and is not providing care for children it does not receive funding. Unfortunately this can mean a loss of income for a service, which is difficult especially when there […]

Read More »
the importance of touch as part of caregiving and teaching children

Owner Worried about Putting Service at Risk By Employing Men

“I have nothing against employing men – but why put my centre at risk? Parents don’t want a male tending to their child’s personal needs. This is the type of society we now live in.”   owner of an early childhood […]

Read More »
early childhood research journal online

Mapping Policies and Pathways in Early Childhood Education: A Note from Aotearoa New Zealand

Mapping Policies and Pathways in Early Childhood Education: A Note from Aotearoa New Zealand. Andrew Gibbons and Sandy Farquhar. Auckland University of Technology and University of Auckland. Full reference: Gibbon, A., & Farquhar S. (2014). Mapping policies and pathways in […]

Read More »
The Office of ECE

Share This Information

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

The Office of ECE Login