If you can see the object blocking the airway, try to remove it with your finger. Try to remove an object only if you can see it.
Do NOT perform choking first aid if the infant is coughing forcefully, has a strong cry, or is breathing enough. However, be ready to act if the symptoms worsen.
Do NOT try to grasp and pull out the object if the infant is alert (conscious).
Do NOT do back blows and chest thrusts if the infant stops breathing for other reasons, such as asthma, infection, swelling, or a blow to the head. Do give infant CPR in these cases.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
If an infant is choking:
Tell someone to call 911 while you begin first aid.
If you are alone, shout for help and begin first aid.
Always call your doctor after a child has been choking, even if you successfully remove the object from the airway and the infant seems fine.
Don't give children under 3 years old balloons or toys with fragile or small parts.
Keep infants away from buttons, popcorn, coins, grapes, nuts, or similar items.
Watch infants and toddlers while they are eating. Do not allow a child to crawl around while eating. Childproof your home.
The earliest safety lesson is "No!"
Manno M. Pediatric respiratory emergencies: Upper airway obstruction and infections. In: Marx J, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 166.
Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, Clinic. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.