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Choking Infant

Choking Infant - Departments & Programs, UW Health, Ambulatory Education, CPR, Choking


Determine if the infant can cry or cough. If not, proceed to Step 1.

  1. Hold the infant face down. Protect the infant's face by holding the jaw.  Support infant on thighs or lap. Head lower than chest. Give 5 back slaps with the heel of your free hand.
    First step in saving a choking infant
  2. Turn the infant over face up. Protect the infant's head by holding the back of the head. Support infant on thighs or lap.  Head lower than chest. Give 5 chest thrusts on the middle of the chest, just below the nipple line.
    Second step in saving an infant who is choking
  3. Repeat steps one and two above until the obstruction comes out of the infant's mouth or the infant becomes unresponsive. If the infant becomes unresponsive, begin the three-step process listed below.

Three Step Process 

  1. Begin 30 Chest Compressions – Look in the mouth for a foreign object; if you see an object in the mouth, remove it. However if you do not see the object, DO NOT perform a "blind finger sweep" on an infant.
  2. Give two rescue breaths. This is to help oxygenate the infant and will not push the object further down into the lungs.  If chest does not rise, reposition airway and try breaths again. If no chest rise begin CPR.
  3. Continue with 30 chest compressions, look in mouth for object, 2 breaths. Repeat until chest rises, check pulse, continue with either CPR, Rescue Breathing or maintaining airway if infant is breathing.

Continue care until help arrives

If you remove the object from the mouth, proceed with two rescue breaths. This is to help re-oxygenate the person. If chest rises with 2 rescue breaths, then check the brachial or femoral pulse closest to you. If no pulse, begin infant CPR. If there is a pulse but no breathing continue rescue breathing 1 breath every 3 seconds. Reassess every 2 minutes as long as pulse is present.