Complete Care for You: How to Do the Heimlich on a Child
In our continuing series, “Complete Care for You,” TanglewoodMoms.com has partnered once again with Complete Care to bring you important health information.
In the US, choking is the fourth leading cause of accidental death among children under five years old. Fortunately, parents and caregivers can perform the Heimlich Maneuver, a choking emergency first aid technique, to remove airway obstructions
Assess the Situation
As long as the child is breathing, he can likely clear his airway through coughing. If breathing becomes difficult or impossible, he will likely exhibit the universal choking sign, placing the hands over the throat. Other signs of distress include the inability to speak or cough forcefully. Nails, lips, and skin may turn blue or dusky. At that point, choking rescue intervention is called for.
Performing the Heimlich Maneuver on Children
This approach to handling a pediatric choking situation is appropriate for children older than one year. The procedure is somewhat different for infants because their bodies are too small for a caregiver to get directly behind them to administer abdominal thrusts.
When a child stops breathing, explain what you are going to do as you put her in a standing position. Stand or kneel behind her and put your arms around her waist.
Be prepared to support her body in case she loses consciousness. Make a fist with one hand, placing the thumb side against the child’s belly, just above the navel but well below the breastbone. Use your other hand to grasp your fist to give an upward thrust to try to push the object out of the windpipe. Continue this process of inward, upward thrusts until the airway clears, or the child loses consciousness.