Safety and first aid

First aid for a choking infant under 1

Signs and symptoms

Watch infants for:

  • coughing, wheezing, gagging
  • difficulty breathing
  • making a whistling or ‘crowing’ noise or no sound at all
  • face, neck lips, ears, fingernails turning blue.

Managing a choking infant

  • Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.
  • Place infant with head downwards on your forearm:
    • support head and shoulders on your hand
    • hold infant’s mouth open with your fingers.
  • Give up to 5 back blows:
    • with the heel of one hand to the back between shoulders
    • checking if the airway obstruction is relieved after each back blow.
  • Turn infant onto back, open mouth and remove any loose foreign material with your little finger.
  • If unsuccessful after 5 back blows, give chest thrusts:
    • place infant on back on a firm surface
    • place two fingers in the CPR compression position
    • give 5 chest thrusts – slower but sharper than compressions
    • check if obstruction has been relieved after each chest thrust.
  •  If infant becomes unconscious commence CPR.

Where to get help

  • For emergency or life-threatening conditions, visit an emergency department or dial triple zero (000) to call an ambulance.

This information provided by

Logo: St John Ambulance Australia


St John Ambulance Australia

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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