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What should I do if my child is choking?

Nina L. Shapiro, MD
Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology)
If your child is choking and unable to breathe, call 911 and begin performing the Heimlich maneuver. If the child cries, coughs or vomits, the Heimlich is not necessary. If the child is not breathing and the object blocking the airway is visible, try to clear it. If the object is not visible, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until help arrives.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
If your child is choking, take two fingers and sweep through his mouth to see if you can remove the object. If that doesn't work, you can turn a baby upside down and pat her upper back fairly vigorously. Around age two, you can start performing the Heimlich maneuver. If you try to do that when they're too young, you risk cracking their ribs. The most common foods that kids choke on: peanuts and buttered popcorn. We recommend that they don't get a chance to eat them unsupervised until they're five years old. The reason isn't just because of their size and shape but because the fat in them is inflammatory to the lungs if the food should go down the wrong pipe.
YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

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YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

There’s little doubt that parenting can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences you’ll ever have. But it can be plenty tough, too: Around the clock, you’re working to keep your...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.