What to Do for:
Mild Airway Obstruction
If the victim can make sounds or cough loudly, the blockage is mild. Stand by and let the victim cough. If there's still concern, call TCCD Police Dispatch at 817-515-8911.
Severe Airway Obstruction
An adult has a severe obstruction if they cannot:
- Make a sound
A child has a severe obstruction if they:
- Cannot cry
- Have high-pitched, noisy breathing
- Have a quiet cough
- Make no sound
- Have bluish lips or skin
Act immediately before the victim becomes unresponsive.
- Ask if he/she is choking. If they indicate yes, take action.
- Get behind the victim.
- Reach around the victim and place a fist on the victim's abdomen, just above the belly button.
- Place your open hand over your fist and thrust toward the victim's spine.
- Continue giving thrusts until you dislodge the object, or the victim becomes unresponsive, at which time you should begin CPR.
Babies are good at clearing their own airways through coughing. Pick up the infant, keep him/her upright but do nothing else. Do not bang on the infant's back, as this could push the object further down into the lungs.
If the infant stops coughing, starts making a wheezing sound, or starts to turn blue, white or gray:
- Yell for someone to call TCCD Police Dispatch at 817-515-8911, even if no one is with you. You never know who may hear you.
- Put your hand over the infant's face and extend your fingers ear to ear. Your hand should go chin to jaw, but do not cover the mouth.
- Flip the baby over your forearm, bringing the baby down a 30-to-45 degree angle so gravity can help you. Support the baby on your thigh.
- Using the heel of your free hand and letting your fingers crown the head, slap the baby's back firmly 5 times.
- Sandwich the infant between both your arms and hands, and flip him/her over so he/she is face up on the opposite arm. Your arm should support the infant's head and neck, and you should use gravity to keep the baby as a 30-to-45 degree angle.
- Place three fingers just below the nipple line. Deliver 5 quick chest thrusts.
Repeat steps 2 through 5 until the object is dislodged or the infant loses consciousness.
If the infant loses consciousness,
- Stop back slaps and begin CPR.
- Check if the object is in the mouth before you give puffs of air in between chest compressions. Do not dig for objects because you can inadvertently push the object in even farther.
- Give 5 cycles of CPR before calling TCCD Police Dispatch at 817-515-8911, if they have not been called.
Even if the infant clears the object, take him/her to the hospital to make sure the object has not damaged the esophagus, lungs or airways.
Updated January 20, 2023