Signs a baby is choking: what to do
Here are signs a baby is choking: coughing, gagging, wheezing, distress, choking noises, rattling breathing sounds, no breathing, no sounds, paleness, blue colour, and loss of consciousness.
If a baby shows any signs of choking, phone 000 immediately. Follow the steps to clear a blockage, shown next. The operator will stay on the line to help you.
Lay baby down on your forearm. Hold baby’s mouth open with your fingers. Use the heel of your hand to give baby a firm back blow between the shoulder blades. Give up to five back blows. Check between each blow to see if the blockage has cleared.
Choking first aid: next steps
If the blockage hasn’t cleared, lay baby on their back. Put two fingers in the centre of the chest, and give up to five chest thrusts – like CPR compressions but slower and sharper. Check to see if the blockage has cleared between each thrust.
If the blockage has come loose or been removed, remove the object with your little finger. Put baby into the recovery position on their side with their head tilted down.
Babies and young children can choke on anything smaller than a 20-cent piece. Keep small objects out of reach. Check the floor by getting down to your baby’s height and looking around.
Always supervise babies while they’re eating solid food. Keep food pieces small. Cook, grate or mash hard food like hard fruits and vegetables. Avoid whole nuts and other hard foods.
Always follow the age recommendations on toys. Avoid toys with small parts, breakable parts, brittle surfaces or button batteries. Check toys for exposed stuffing and loose screws and buttons.