Emergency Methods for Someone Who is Choking

In response to the person who used a straw to dislodge something they were choking on...

NEVER, NEVER put anything down your throat. If you or someone is choking follow these steps. These steps are for anyone over the age of 1. Moderate the thrusts according to the size of the person.


1. If you/they can cough, do nothing except encourage forceful coughing. If a person can cough, they can breathe.

2. Once you/they can no longer cough or speak, you have to perform abdominal thrusts (heimlich). To do this, make a fist with one hand and place it, thumb side against the body) just above the belly button. Using the other hand, forcefully press in and up in a jerking type of movement several times until the object is dislodged or unconsciousness occurs - CALL 9-1-1.

If you are by yourself, call 9-1-1 after two thrusts. If the thrusts have not worked, you may want to place your diaphram against the edge of a table and drop onto it. This will hopefully put more pressure on the diaphram dislodging the object.

3. If the person loses consciousness, ease them to the floor and check to see if the object became dislodged. Use your index finger to sweep the mouth to check as well. It is dark in there and you may not see the object. You may not have to sweep with a child as their mouths are smaller and you should be able to see if there is anything there.

4. Try to give the person 2 breaths by tilting their head back, plugging their nose and covering their whole mouth. If the air doesn't go in the first time, try tilting the head back further and try to breathe in again.

5. If this fails. position yourself across the persons thighs and place the heel of one hand just about the belly button and place your other hand on top. Do 5 thrusts (in and up).

6. Go back to the head and check again to see if the object is dislodged.

7. if there is nothing there, try tilting the head again and breathing 2 times.

8. Air doesn't go in go back to the thighs and repeat the thrusts.

Continue with thrusts and breaths until the object is dislodged and the person is breathing. If they are not breathing but air is going in, continue with Artificial Respiration until help arrives.

If you are on your own and you have called
9-1-1 and you manage to dislodge the object by thrusting your abdomen against a table, let the ambulance come anyway. You should be checked to make sure no damage was done to the ribs, trachea or esopagus.

Whenever a person has received the heimlich, they should be seen by a doctor to check for any damage.

Your best way of helping someone who is choking is to take a first aid course before you are needed to act to save a life. Check with your local community centre to see if they have first aid courses. Or, you can check with your local Red Cross (U.S. and Canada), or St. John Ambulance (in Commonwealth countries).

Darlene in Mississauga

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February 15, 20050 found this helpful

I replied to the original post in detail about choking but think people should check if the Heimlich manoeuver is still recommended by the St Johns Ambulance. In Australia it is no longer recommended by them for choking. See previous post.




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