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Baby Safety Tips

Choking Prevention and Baby Safety

Learn safety tips for your babyChoking happens when an object gets lodged in the throat or airway. This can block the flow of air and cut off oxygen to the brain. When a child is choking, he or she cannot cry or make sounds. The child may clutch at his or her throat. The child will have a weak cough and difficulty breathing or noisy breathing. The skin, lips, and nails may turn blue or dusky. First aid should be given immediately to clear the airway so the child can breathe. 

Top Safety Tips

Home Care

At The First Sign Of Choking:

Do NOT put your finger into the child's mouth to remove the object. Your finger could push the object further into the child's throat.

For Children Younger Than 1 Year Of Age:

1. Sit down. Lay the baby stomach down along your forearm, with the baby's face and neck supported in your hand. If you need to, support your arm (with the baby) along your thigh. Make sure the baby's head is slightly lower than the rest of his or her body, so the object can be dislodged from the throat more easily.

2. Use the heel of your free hand to give 5 quick thumps between the baby's shoulder blades.

3. If the object is still lodged, turn the baby over and give chest compressions (thrusts). This is done by placing your middle and ring fingers on the baby's breastbone on the imaginary line that runs between the nipples. Thrust down to a depth of 1/2" to 1". Do 5 thrusts in a row.

4. Check the baby's mouth to see if the object is dislodged. If not, repeat steps 3 and 4 until the baby's airway is clear and the baby is breathing normally.

For Children Older Than 1 Year Of Age:

1. Get behind the child. Kneel if you need to.

2. Place one of your arms diagonally across the child's chest and lean the child forward.

3. Use the heel of your other hand to give 5 quick thumps between the child's shoulder blades.

4. If the object is still lodged, do 5 abdominal thrusts:

- Wrap your arms around the child's waist.

- Make a fist with one hand. Place the thumb-side of your fist directly above the child's bellybutton.

- Grab your fist with your other hand.

- Do short, quick thrusts by pulling the hands inward and upward. Do not lift the child off floor while thrusting.

5. Keep switching back and forth, giving 5 blows to the back and 5 thrusts to the abdomen until the object is dislodged.

If the child stops breathing:

1. Place the child on a firm, flat surface such as a table or the floor or ground.

2. If someone is with you, have this person call 911 immediately while you start infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Focus on giving chest compressions. Alternate with rescue breaths if you feel comfortable giving them.

3. If you are alone, start infant CPR for 2 minutes, then call 911. Continue CPR until help arrives.


1. Supervise your child during meals. Children should sit down to eat. Cut food into small, bite-sized pieces. For children under 4 years, avoid nuts, popcorn, grapes, and other foods that can cause choking.

2. Avoid toys with small, removable parts. Check toys frequently for loose or broken parts. Safe toys are those that will not fit into a toilet tissue roll.

3. Check each room in the house daily for small objects such as buttons, coins, and toy parts.

What You Need to Know