accessibility & help

Questions and answers aboutchoking

Here are some questions people often ask. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please feel free to email us at firstaid@redcross.org.uk or use this form.

Q

What should I do if back blows don’t work?

Answer
Answer
Girl giving abdominal thrusts

If five firm back blows do not dislodge the object, stand behind them, join your hands around their tummy and form a fist. Pull your hands sharply inwards and upwards. Repeat up to five times. 

This is sometimes called the Heimlich manoeuvre or abdominal thrust. Don’t attempt this technique on a child under one year old.

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Q

What should I do if the person becomes unresponsive?

Answer
Answer

Support them gently to the ground and treat them as an unresponsive person who is not breathing.

Find out how to help someone who is unresponsive and not breathing.

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Q

Do I treat a child who is choking differently to how I treat an adult?

Answer
Answer

Treat children (aged one to puberty) the same as adults. Give up to five firm blows on the back, changing the force of the blows depending on the size of the child.  

Find out more about how to help a choking child.

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Q

How do I treat a baby who is choking?

Answer
Answer
Back blows being delivered to baby

For children under one year old, hold the baby face down along your thigh with their head lower than their bottom. Hit them firmly on their back up to five times to dislodge the object.

Find out more about how to treat a choking baby.

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