When someone chokes, their airway can either be partly or fully blocked which means they are unable to breathe properly. Often when it is a partial blockage, they should be able to clear it themselves by coughing, however, if the airway is blocked completely they won’t be able cough so will need help.
What you can do
- If you think someone is choking firstly ask them to cough to try to clear the blockage.
- If coughing doesn’t work, stand behind them, lean them forward and give up to five sharp blows between their shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
- If this doesn’t clear the blockage, clench one fist and place it just above their belly button, place your other hand on top of your fist and pull sharply inwards and upwards, repeat this up to five times
- If they become unresponsive call 999 right away.
For babies under one, sit down and lay the baby face down along your thighs, supporting their head with your hand, and give up to five sharp back blows with the heel of one hand in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades. If this doesn’t clear the blockage, lay the baby face up along the length of your thighs, find the breastbone and place two fingers in the middle. Push down on the chest up to five times. Repeat until the blockage is cleared. If they become unresponsive call 999 right away.