How can you stop an infant from choking?

Mike Dennis
Posted by Mike Dennis

Date: Monday, 01 August 2016. -  
Blog, First Aid, Paediatric

We all know babies love to put things in their mouths, especially things they shouldn’t! This is normal behaviour and helps them to explore the new world around them.

However, choking is the third most common form of infant death in the UK, with the majority of choking-related incidents being caused by food and small objects such as marbles, buttons, and coins. So, what can we do to prevent it?

The best starting point is to make sure these kinds of objects are kept well out of your child’s reach. But, no matter how careful you are, the chances are your child may choke on something at some point.


You will know your child better than anyone else and will be able to tell the difference between them coughing because they are unwell, or coughing because they are choking.


If it is the latter, then you should start by looking in your child's mouth. If you can see the object, try to remove it. However don’t just poke around blindly, you could push the object further and make matters worse!

If you cannot see the object, you need to act quickly to prevent your child losing consciousness.


For a more in-depth look at First Aid, our website has all the tips that you’ll need, but here are a few more to put your mind at ease:

• To begin with, lay the baby face down along your forearms so that their head is lower than their chest.
• With the heel of your hand, give up to 5 back blows between the infant's shoulder blades. Check their mouth for obstructions between each back blow.
• If the obstruction hasn't cleared, turn the infant onto the back.
• Place two fingers on the breastbone and thrust sharply inwards and upwards, towards the infant's head.

Or if you're after some quick and easy advice, our handy infogram on Infant Choking will take you through the steps.

If you want to take First Aid advice with you and stay safe on the go, download our handy app – available in the App Store and Google Play Store.

Or if you have any questions regarding these actions, please contact our knowledgeable customer care team by calling 0845 071 0820.