The procedure for assisting a choking victim is different for the adult as opposed to the child or infant. Let's first address the choking adult.
The steps to assist the adult are as follows:
1. Call 911.
2. Let the person know you're there to help.
3. Abdominal thrusts: Get behind the person who's choking. Put your finger on his or her belly button. Step around the person and put your leg between his or her legs, creating a seat for the person to sit on. Then cup your fist for support and scoop up into the stomach (in a thrusting motion) five times.
4. Next ask the victim if they are "OK" and assess to see if the victim has expelled the item and if they are responsive.
4. If the adult choking victim becomes unconscious and unresponsive; immediately start CPR until emergency assistance arrives.
If you have a infant or small child choking; the steps are as follows:
1. If the object is in view, try to remove the object but do not do a blind sweep if the object is not in view.
2. If the object is not in view, hold him face-down on your forearm and thump firmly around five times on the middle of the back using the heel of your hand. If the object is not dislodged, hold him face-up on the forearm with his head lower than his trunk and with two fingers on the breastbone, give five chest compressions.
3. If the object is not dislodged, call 911 immediately and repeat the above steps until help arrives. If he or she loses consciousness, start CPR.
Lastly, always monitor the infant or child whey they are eating or playing with small toys.Choking can be a scary experience and while a child will often eliminate choking and blockage on his or her own by coughing, having an emergency plan ready is important knowledge for every parent.
Choking is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths under one year of age and continues to be of great concern until the age of five.
As a American Heart Association Regional Training Faculty member; I provide instruction to laymen rescuers and healthcare providers alike on the assessment and strategy for assisting the choking infant, child, and adult.
Weekly morning, afternoon, and evening classes are provided.
Tracy A. Jones is an American Heart Association, ASHI, and American Red Cross Master Program Trainer, Instructor, & AHA Faculty Member located in San Antonio, Texas.