I remember bringing my newborn son home from the hospital. Every noise he made, every grimace, move-you name it-caught my attention. I thought he was a piece of fragile china and I panicked that any wrong breath or movement could be detrimental.
Now, at five months old, he races across the living room in his racecar walker. I fit in my “dad shoes” a little better than the day we brought him home for the first time. I often scan the house for small objects-targets of great desire to my son-to ensure they are out of hands’ reach.
As a paramedic, educator, and someone who has worked in the EMS system for eleven years, I cannot help but see potential risks in and outside the home and aim to mitigate those risks. In the eleven years that I worked in the healthcare industry I have never had to relieve choking of and infant.
I often ask myself, “what if this happens to me?” So, I prepare and practice because one day it could happen. Learning and practicing infant choking relief techniques is paramount to a solid foundation of preparedness should you find yourself in a situation where it is needed.
Are you a parent or an expecting parent?
Do you work in childhood education?
Are you a human being?
Did you answer “yes” to any of the above questions? If so, you will benefit in learning how to relieve an infant from choking. The first thing you need to do is find a reputable educator that has a passion for teaching CPR. Do your research and find the best place that fits your schedule and budget. Not every company is the same.
Show up prepared to learn and write questions that pop up the day before your class to ask your instructor. Make it relevant to your life. Take as much time as needed to practice what you have learned until you feel confident. You should walk out of the classroom feeling empowered in performing infant choking relief should you need to use those skills. A high-quality instructor will encourage this.
Here are the steps needed to relieve choking of an infant:
- Is the infant awake or unconscious? How can you tell? If they are not limp and unresponsive, they are not unconscious. CALL 911. Place the infant facing down in your lap with his or her body angled slightly down. Utilize your forearm to aid in stability to the patient’s position. ALWAYS support the head and neck to prevent further injury. Perform five back slaps right between the shoulder blades in a down and forward fashion. Do not be timid about this. This object needs to be removed and your back slaps need to be forceful enough to create pressure.
- Flip infant on forearm to his or her back and perform five CHEST thrusts. The head should remain lower than the chest and the chest thrusts should be done with two fingers on the lower half of the breastbone. NEVER perform abdominal thrusts on an infant. You should get a visual on the airway while it is in sight.
- Continue this “five and five” routine until the object is freed or the infant becomes unresponsive.
- If infant becomes unresponsive =🡺 place the infant on a hard flat surface and perform chest compressions (15 compressions to 2 breaths for 2 rescuer CPR and 30 compressions to 2 breaths for 1 rescuer CPR). Call out for someone to grab the AED as soon as possible (American Heart Association, 2020).
No substitute for a class
These are the very basic steps in performing infant choking relief. This is in no way, shape, or form a substitute for the class and I highly recommend hands on practice and learning with a high-quality instructor that cares about your success and empowerment.
American Heart Association. (2020). Basic Life Support Provider Manual. United States of America: First American Heart Association Printing.
Duckett, S. A., Bartman, M., & Roten, R. A. (2020, September 22). NCBI Resources . Retrieved from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499941/