According to the New York Department of Health, “at least one child dies from choking on food every five days in the U.S. and more than 12,000 children are taken to a hospital emergency room each year for food-choking injuries.”

As a parent or child care provider, has the concern for a choking emergency ever left you feeling uneasy?


Most of us have the basic understanding that CPR training can save lives yet we don’t seem to find the time, money, or resources to invest in attending a hands-on training.

So we’re left feeling on edge and concerned about what to do in the case of an emergency. What if my child chokes when I introduce solids? Or finds a marble their older sibling left out on the ground? What if my child escapes my attention for only a few seconds and climbs into the pool alone?

There are too many scenarios in which we can experience close calls or actual emergencies and it’s crucial we know what to do. Not only does this knowledge save lives but it also brings you confidence in helping to care for your kids.

Here are the basic steps to intervene during a choking emergency for an infant 0-12 months of age.

Is my infant choking?

the signs of a baby gagging vs choking

If your baby is only gagging/coughing: let your them work through this on their own and 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 5 sharp back blows with the palm of your hand between the infant’s shoulder blades.

how to perform back blows on a baby

4. Supporting the infant’s head, turn them over to apply 5 chest thrusts. Use 2 fingers just below the nipple line to issue 5 chest thrusts.

how to apply chest thrusts on a baby5. If the choking obstruction becomes dislodged or you are able to see the obstruction 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 5 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 ouchs on topics such as choking, drowning, CPR, and AED usage.

You’ll learn CPR essentials from the comfort of your home in under 45 minutes from a seasoned firefighter paramedic. No need to leave, pay for a babysitter, and use up your whole day. Pause and re-watch your on-demand training as often as you’d like. This enables you to refresh as often as you need. You’ll also be able to download your e-certificate immediately after completing the training.

CPR course training with Thrive


Brandon DoerksenBrandon Doerksen, Co-Founder, Thrive Training Institute
Thrive Training Institute is an online training center that adheres to the latest guidelines in resuscitation science. Providing students with accurate, user-focused, and time-efficient safety training. With a mission to make CPR knowledge affordable and accessible to everyone.


The information presented in this article is not intended to be construed as medical advice. Sittercity recommends consulting your family physician to ensure that you have accurate, up-to-date information.

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