Baby Choking: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide for Parents

Baby Choking

Learn how to respond to baby choking with our easy-to-follow guide. Be prepared and confident in case of an emergency. Your baby’s safety matters!

How to Respond to Baby Choking: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents and Caregivers


Welcome to our informative blog on a topic that every parent and caregiver should be familiar with – how to respond to a baby choking emergency. When it comes to the safety and well-being of your little one, being prepared is of the utmost importance. In this blog, we’ll break down the essential steps to recognize and address baby choking, from understanding the signs to taking action calmly and effectively. By the end of this guide, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to handle this critical situation, ensuring your baby’s safety. Let’s get started on this important journey of learning and preparedness.

Step 1: Get Prepared 

Before a choking emergency arises, consider taking a class on baby choking and infant first aid. Learning these skills ahead of time can help you respond calmly and effectively during a crisis. The American Red Cross provides online and in-person courses teaching vital skills.

Step 2: Recognize Choking 

It’s crucial to identify baby choking signs. Look for indicators such as gagging, coughing, struggling to breathe, and changes in skin color (turning red or blue). These signs indicate that there might be an obstruction in the baby’s airway. Quickly assess whether the blockage is partial or complete.

Partial Blockage: 

If your baby can still cough or gag and there’s some airflow around the object, it’s best not to intervene immediately. Giving the baby a chance to cough naturally might dislodge the blockage. Avoid trying a finger sweep, as this could push the object more profoundly into the throat.

Step 3: Complete Blockage or Unsuccessful Coughing


If the baby cannot cough out the object, the blockage is complete, and no air gets through, it’s time to take action.

Calling for Help:

  • If the situation is critical, have someone call 911 for professional medical assistance.

Back Blows and Chest Thrusts:

  • Adjust the baby’s position based on whether the blockage is partial or complete.

For Partial Blockage:

  • Place the baby on your forearm with their face pointing downwards while elevating their head.
  • Use the heel of your hand to deliver five firm back blows between the baby’s shoulder blades. It can help dislodge the object.

For Complete Blockage:

  • Lay the baby face-up on your forearm with the head lower than the chest.
  • Use two or three fingers to perform five chest thrusts by gently compressing the breastbone about 1.5 inches. It can help remove the obstruction.

Step 4: Alternating Techniques 

Keep alternating between five back blows and five chest thrusts. Gently roll the baby from their back to their front. This movement can encourage the object to come out or stimulate forceful coughing, crying, or breathing.

Unconscious Baby: 

If the baby becomes unconscious while the object remains lodged, lay it on a flat, firm surface. Seek medical assistance immediately.


Being prepared with knowledge of baby choking and first aid is crucial. Recognize the signs of choking, act according to the situation, and call for professional help when necessary. The goal is to keep the baby’s airway clear and ensure their safety. Practicing these techniques beforehand can empower you to respond calmly and effectively during an emergency.

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