Choking can be a life-threatening
emergency. Your child might be choking if he or she suddenly:
begins gasping or wheezing
can't talk, cry, or make noise
begins to turn blue in the face
grabs at his or her throat or waves arms
What to Do
If your child is choking, call 911 right away or have someone
else call. If you are trained to do abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich
maneuver), do so immediately. If not done correctly, however, this maneuver
could hurt your child.
Do not reach into the mouth to grab the object or pat your child on the
back. Either could push the object farther down the airway and make the situation
Keep the following in mind:
If your child is gagging and coughing but can breathe and talk, the airway is
not completely blocked and it's best to do nothing. Your child will likely be fine
after the coughing spell.
If your child was choking and is now unconscious and no longer breathing, send
someone tocall 911. Immediately perform cardiopulmonary
resuscitation (CPR) if you've been trained.
Take your child for medical care after any serious choking episode, especially
if there is a lasting cough or wheezing. If your child has trouble breathing or swallowing,
go to the emergency room.
Children younger than 4 years old should avoid eating foods that are easy to choke
on, including nuts, raw carrots, popcorn, and hard or gooey candy. Cut food like hot
dogs and grapes into small pieces.
Make sure kids sit down, take small bites, and don't talk or laugh with mouths
full when eating.
Pick up anything off the floor that might be dangerous to swallow, like deflated
balloons, pen caps, coins, beads, and batteries.
Keep toys or gadgets with small parts out of reach.
Learn how to do abdominal thrusts and CPR, which usually are taught as part of
any basic first-aid course.