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Health > First Aid >Choking


Choking is caused when a foreign object, like a hard lump of food, goes into the trachea instead of the oesophagus (food pipe)

First aid

If your child is choking and has trouble breathing, first aid suggestions include:

Encourage your child to cough.

Put your child in a position where their head hangs down, perhaps over your knee.

Slap firmly four times between the shoulder blades.

Check to see if the object has fallen out and if your child can breathe properly again.

If not, repeat the procedure and call an ambulance.

If your child loses consciousness, place them on the floor on their side and repeatedly compress and release their ribcage with your hands, using sharp, fast actions. This may force the remaining air in their lungs to expel the object.

If your child is still not breathing, perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until the ambulance officers arrive and take over.

Things to remember

Choking is caused by a foreign object, such as a hard lump of food, going into the trachea instead of the oesophagus.

Toddlers are at risk from choking on food and small items, such as buttons or beads.

Hard foods, such as raw carrot and apple, should be cooked, mashed or grated.

Supervise your child at all times when they are eating.

Keep small items, such as coins, buttons and beads, out of reach of small children.

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