Here at Together Families, we connect Early Childhood Educators, Teachers and Parents. We encourage the sharing of ideas, knowledge and experiences to help build stronger and healthier children and families.

Emergency Protocol: Choking

All adults know that a choking episode can be pretty frightening whether you’re the victim or just a bystander. When you’re a young child you don’t have the resources to help yourself and you must rely on an adult to a) understand what’s happening and b) clear your airway. In an emergency, it’s best to have the problem solving knowledge to access before panic sets in. Follow and memorize the steps below to ensure you have the skills necessary to save the day.

Preventative tips

Teach kids to chew their food thoroughly and to not talk while they’re eating.

Serve food in small amounts so they don’t take mouthfuls that are too big.

Children under the age of four should not be given hard foods or hard candies.

Don’t let your children have toys with small parts. Kids don’t always know the difference between food and play.

It’s very common for children to choke on coins. Make sure you don’t leave your change around where they can grab it.

Balloons are particularly dangerous because they can block a child’s entire airway.


Emergency Procedure

If the child is choking or unconscious call 9-1-1 immediately.

If they are conscious but unable to breath hit the space between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand 5 times. Ensure that the child is positioned with their head down to prevent the blockage from sliding further down the airway.

If they are still choking, perform the Heimlich maneuver. Stand or kneel behind the child and place your fist above their belly button. Place your other hand on top of your fist and deliver upward thrusts. Continue until the child begins to breathe again.

If the child becomes unconscious, begin CPR.

Check the airway for visible food but do not search for it with your fingers as this could lodge it further down.

A child should always go to the hospital after a choking experience to be evaluated. It’s possible that the obstruction is still present and could re-lodge later on.

*The above information is a guideline only

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