For those who don’t know me, I’m a father to 3 kids under five and the founding CPR Instructor at Thrive Training Institute. We are an online learning platform that exists to help busy families know what to do in emergencies. Over the past two years, we have helped over 10,000 families learn CPR & First Aid skills entirely from home.
In this blog, I will share how to intervene during a severe choking obstruction.
One of our students recently shared, “Because I took the CPR course, I stayed calm because I knew how to help her if she did choke vs. gag the food up. I didn’t try to dig my fingers in either to prevent her from possibly choking, as I learned you are more likely to cause a choking issue doing such. So essentially, I sat and waited, dramatically pretending to chew with a fake smile hoping she wouldn’t choke. Moments later, that strawberry slipped, and she turned red and looked at me, choking. I leaned her forward, and it took two back blows on her back to get it out. She was scared and crying, I held her, and she was safe. Not having done the course, I’m confident all wouldn’t have gone as smoothly to help her. ”
Choking is the #1 concern for so many parents.
One of the most significant contributors to this concern is that many parents lack CPR knowledge.
When responding to emergencies, people tend to have one of these three responses:
Fight: You face the threat head-on, using your instincts and previously acquired knowledge. Flight: You flee the scene, hoping someone else can come in to save the day. Freeze: You’re stuck paralyzed, unable to respond adequately to the threat in front of you. If you are a parent or childcare provider, I KNOW you want to be able to respond promptly and appropriately to your loved ones.
The three main blockers that prevent people from responding are:
Lack of knowledge Lack of confidence Lack of skills If you haven’t taken the time to go through an online CPR refresher course, we highly recommend you do!
Knowing what to do in an emergency can alleviate anxiety and boost confidence as a parent.
Here is how you should respond to a choking situation. (This example is for an 8-month old)
If your baby is only gagging/coughing: let them work through this on their own and calmly encourage them to cough the food up
don’t lunge at them and yell don’t blindly stick your fingers in their mouth, as this can cause the situation to become worse If your baby is suffering from a severe choking obstruction: remove your infant from the high chair and perform the following steps:
1. If someone is present with you, have them contact EMS by calling 911 right away. If someone is not with you, then begin providing care to the baby immediately.
2. Place your infant’s face over your arm at a downward angle supporting the baby’s face with your hand.
3. Apply five sharp back blows with the palm of your hand between the infant’s shoulder blades.
4. Supporting the infant’s head, turn them over to apply five chest thrusts. Use two fingers just below the nipple line to issue 5 chest thrusts.
5. If the choking obstruction becomes dislodged or you can see it, you can sweep it out with your pinky (don’t blindly stick your fingers in at any point as this can make things worse).
6. Repeat cycles of 5 back blows and five chest thrusts until the choking obstruction becomes dislodged or the baby becomes unconscious. If the baby becomes unconscious, begin Infant CPR.
Get CPR Training If you want to take action and be ready for when it matters most, check out the Online CPR Training from Thrive Training Institute, designed specifically for parents on the go. It covers CPR for infants, children over 12 months, and adults and touches on topics such as choking, drowning, CPR, and AED use.
You’ll learn CPR essentials from the comfort of your home in under an hour. No need to leave, pay a babysitter, and use your whole day. Pause and re-watch your on-demand training to refresh your knowledge as often as you’d like. Download your e-certificate immediately after completing the training.