What to Do If Your Baby Chokes

Choking on solid foods and other objects is especially dangerous for your baby. You will need to respond quickly. Follow these steps:

  • While sitting or kneeling, hold your baby face down on your forearm. Use your hand to support the head and jaw.
  • Use the heel of your hand to give 5 back slaps. These back slaps should be between your baby's shoulder blades.
  • If after 5 back slaps, the object does not come out, place your baby on his or her back. Use 2 fingers to give 5 chest thrusts on your baby's breastbone. (See image below.)
  • Switch between giving 5 back slaps and 5 chest thrusts. Continue doing this until the object comes out and your baby is able to breathe.
  • If your baby becomes unresponsive, you will need to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If you are with someone, have that person call for emergency medical services right away while you do the CPR steps. Do 30 chest compressions, then check to see if the object can be removed from the mouth. If you see the object, remove it. If your baby is still not breathing open the airway with chin-lift and slight chin tilt, give 2 breaths and continue with cycles of chest compressions and breaths for 2 minutes. If you are alone at this point, call for help, then return to the cycles.

Chest Thrusts
How To Save a Choking Victim\JPG\Choking_2b .jpg

Chest thrusts are done if the object does not come out after five back slaps.

The American Heart Association offers infant CPR and other first aid classes. By educating yourself, you can keep your baby safe. It is also a good idea to make sure that everyone who cares for your baby knows CPR and first aid.


American Heart Association

March of Dimes


Canadian Paediatric Society

Health Canada


Berg MD, Schexnayder SM, Chameides L, Terry M, Donoghue A, Hickey RW, Berg RA, Sutton RM, Hazinski MF. Pediatric basic life support: 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Pediatrics. 2010 Nov;126(5):e1345-60.

Pediatric first aid/CPR/AED. American Red Cross website. Available at: http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4240175_Pediatric_ready_reference.pdf. Published 2011. Accessed April 7, 2016.

Last reviewed April 2016 by Michael Woods, MD  Last Updated: 5/20/2014