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Common Question about FIRST AID for a Baby who is Choking

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

What can a baby choke on?

Curdled milk, mucus, or vomit can all cause choking in newborn babies. As they grow older, they progress to solids and begin to explore by putting things in their mouths. This means that food or small toys can easily become lodged in their throats, preventing them from breathing.

How hard should the back blows be? Depending on the size of the baby, you should vary the force of the back blows: be gentler with a smaller baby than with a larger baby. The force with which you deliver the back blows should also be proportional to your own strength. The back blows must be powerful enough to cause a vibration in the airway and dislodge the obstruction.

Why is it necessary for me to hold a baby with its head lower than its bottom?

Babies frequently choke on liquid (mucus or curdled milk), so keeping their head lower than their bottom allows the liquid to drain – gravity will assist.

Why do I have to hold the head up?

Supporting or holding the baby's head will help to keep the baby's airway open, allowing the blockage to be dislodged.

Can I perform the Heimlich manoeuvre (abdominal thrusts) on a baby?

NO, you should not squeeze a baby's tummy.

Abdominal thrusts are only used to assist choking children and adults. Using abdominal thrusts on a baby could harm their internal organs, which are still developing and fragile.

If back blows do not dislodge the obstruction, use chest thrusts instead.

Should I try to extract the object with my fingers?

If you can't see an object, don't put your fingers in their mouth. You run the risk of pushing any blockage further down the throat or damaging the back of the throat, which could swell and cause further harm.

You could, however, remove an object from a baby's mouth if you can see it clearly and safely pluck it out with your fingertips.

What should I do if a baby stops breathing and becomes unresponsive?

Learn how to assist a baby who is unresponsive and not breathing. CLICK HERE

Should I hold a choking baby upside down by their feet? No. That would not work. If you drop them, you could injure yourself even more. Tipping them upside down may also cause the blockage to move further down their throat.

Is there more to this? Definitely. Accredited by the Singapore Resuscitation and First Aid Council (SRFAC) and recognised by ECDA and MSF, the Child First Aid Course covers a vast range of child emergencies that can occur with infants and children. The Child First Aid Course is specifically designed for childcare, preschools and kindergarten teachers and meets the requirement for centre licensing. Includes Standard First Aid and BCLS+AED Certification.

To find out more about Child First Aid Courses we offer here at Singapore First Aid Training Centre

Do contact us at

Tel: 62978123

WhatsApp: 86715681

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