Adults typically choke when food is stuck in their throats. Just because your baby is not eating solid foods yet, it’s a mistake to think he can’t choke. Babies love to put toys and objects in their mouths and often swallow them. Your baby could choke on these objects, cutting off his oxygen supply. You or any caregiver must act quickly. To learn what to do to help a choking baby, enroll in an infant and child CPR class or purchase the Infant CPR Anytime kit, recommended by the American Heart Association.
If a baby’s airway is partially blocked, she coughs or gags. Let her continue to cough because this is the best way to dislodge whatever is blocking the airway, according to BabyCenter. If you baby’s airway is totally blocked, she can’t cry or cough, but she might make strange noises or make no sound at all while opening her mouth. Her skin may turn blue or bright red. Call 911 immediately if this happens.
Dislodge the Object
While you wait for the ambulance to arrive, sit down and hold the baby face down on your forearm, which you placed on your thigh. Use one hand to support the baby’s head and neck. The baby’s head should be lower than his body. Using the heel of your hand, gently but firmly, thump the baby five times in the middle of his back.
If that doesn’t dislodge the object, turn the baby face up with her head lower than her trunk. Place two fingers in the center of the breastbone and compress the chest quickly, but smoothly, five times. Turn the baby back over and repeat the back thumps. Continue until the object comes out, the baby starts coughing or until help arrives.
Before your baby has a choking incident, the American Heart Association recommends that parents, siblings, grandparents or any other caregiver learn the core infant CPR skills by using the Infant CPR Anytime kit or by taking a traditional infant CPR class. A benefit of the Infant CPR Anytime kit is that you can learn infant CPR in 22 minutes in your own home. You learn the same techniques presented in a traditional infant CPR class; however, classes typically take 90 minutes, according to the American Heart Association. You do not receive a certification, however, after using the CPR Anytime Kit; for that you must take an infant CPR class.
Infant CPR Anytime
If you don’t need a CPR certificate, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association say that the Infant CPR Anytime kit allows people who normally would not attend a CPR class to learn infant CPR. The Infant CPR Anytime kit contains a baby CPR manikin, a practice DVD, reference guides, a practice phone, manikin wipes and a baby spare lung. The DVD teaches you how to push on the chest, give breaths and how to relieve a choking baby. Owning the kit allows different caretakers to learn CPR skills and enables you to brush up on your skills when the next baby comes along. As of 2011, the kit costs $34.95.