Choking is when someone can't breathe because food, a toy, or other object is blocking the airway (throat or windpipe).
This article discusses choking in infants.
Choking may result from a complete or partial blockage of the airway.
Permanent brain damage can occur in as little as 4 minutes when a person does not get enough air. Rapid first aid for choking can save a life.
Choking in infants is usually caused by breathing in a small object that the baby has placed in their mouth, such as a button, coin, balloon, toy part, or watch battery.
The danger signs of choking are:
Do NOT perform these steps if the infant is coughing hard or has a strong cry. Strong coughs and cries can push the object out of the airway.
If your child is not coughing forcefully or does not have a strong cry, follow these steps:
If the object does not come out of the airway after 5 blows:
IF THE INFANT LOSES ALERTNESS
If the child becomes unresponsive, stops breathing, or turns blue:
If an infant is choking:
Always call your doctor after a child has been choking, even if you successfully remove the object from the airway and the infant seems fine.
Manno M. Pediatric respiratory emergencies: Upper airway obstruction and infections. In: Marx J, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 166.
Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2014, A.D.A.M., Inc. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized in writing by ADAM Health Solutions.